Why are National Socialists called "Nazis"?

Did the National Socialists in Germany call themselves Nazis?
Is there some reason why National Socialists are called “Nazis” instead of National Socialist?

It’s an shortening of their German name.

And the full name of the party was “National Socialiast Workers Party”. People like shorter versions of that :D.

Yes, but did the National Socialists call themselves that?
Also, why does the mainstream media/press/historians call them by the euphemism “nazi” , instead of National Socialist?

Yeah, they did. The official name of the party was the

National Sozialismus Deutsche Arbeits Parti

Unofficially, though, it tended to be refered to as the Nazi Party, and Nazis referred to themselves as Nazis. That’s probably also why the mainstream/media/press/historians call them that, plus Nazi is shorter to write than National Socialist.

According to my Chambers, the term is a " borrowing of German Nazi, a shortened and altered for of Nationalsozialist…According to Ernst Schwarz, in Kurze deutsche Wortgeschichte, the name Nazi was based on the pattern of earlier German Sozi, short for Sozialist socialist."

FWIW, “Gestapo” is short for Geheimestaadtspolizei (Secret State Police – sorry if I mauled the spelling). A famous street in Germany is the Kurfurstendam (again, sorry for the spelling). It’s colloquially shortened to “Ku-dam”.

The spellings a tad off, but otherwise quite right. Goering started a new police force in 1933 to replace the old Prussian political police. He originally named it the Secret Police Office (Geheimes Poliezi Amt), but the German initials GPA sounded too much like the Russian GPU. A Post Office employee assigned to make a new stamp suggested “Secret State Police”, or “Geheime Staatspolzei”…GESTAPO for short (GEheime STAatsPOlizei). If nothing else, they were good with catchy titles and uniforms.

Like others have said, “Nazi” is simply the German shortened form of a longer German term. It’s not a euphemism. A euphemism is a term that is meant to sound more pleasant than the actual meaning, like “Final Solution”.

I dont know if this has something to do with the topic but is this a racist statement:

“Nazis are bad”

Jedi Online

No, it’s not a racist statement.

<shtdisturber> Well if you replaced “Nazi” with “jew” it would be racist so whats the diff?</shtdisturber>


Well, all the answers given here so far are correct, but the OP’s implied point has some validity. The implied point is, “the Nazis were SOCIALISTS (just like Italy’s Fascists). The WORD “socialist” is in their (German) name. But you’d never know that from the way the word “Nazi” is thrown around by people on the Left.”

Invariably, it’s those of us on the RIGHT of the political spectrum who are accused of being “Nazis” or “fascists.” And there IS a certain irony to that.

Now, unlike the OP, I am NOT implying that left-wing academics and journalists popularized the term “Nazi” to disguise the socialist leanings of Adolf Hitler… though there IS often a bit of subtle editorializing in history books, when it comes to various historical movement. Example: you’ll search in vain through most American History texts for “the American Party,” but you’ll undoubtedly find numerous references to “the Know-Nothings!” That’s because, like MOST latter-day Americans, historians regard the racists and immigrant-bashers of the 19th century with scorn, and would rather call them “Know-Nothings” than by their official name.

But back to the Nazis… simple reality is, people almost almost prefer a simple, punchy, catchy name to a long, clunky-sounding one. “Nazis” is a punchy, catchy name, while “National Socialists” is not.

No further explanation or concpiracy theory is necessary.

The Nazis are only “Socialists” if by “Socialist” you mean “Authoritarian Statist” or similar.

Socialism is about class struggle: Nazism is about racial struggle.
(oh, and the Nazis werent capitalists either)

Well, the Nazis weren’t really economic theorists. The economic left-wing of the party (the Strassers) got purged pretty early, and Hitler’s views on economics were:

So, Hitler’s general attitude was “Whatever works”.

Nazis share a political philosophy, not any real or imagined racial characteristics. You’re comparing apples and oranges.

From what I’ve seen, they were universally referred to as “Nazi’s” across the entire political spectrum in the United States from the beginning in the 1930s and 1940s. It’s only in recent years that some conservatives have decided they might score some political points by using the formal party name. (My mother, who fled Germany in 1938 with her family, always referred to them as Nazi’s, although she pronounced the “a” vowel sound slightly differently than the English pronounciation.)

The traditional Socialists never considered the National Socialists to be a real Socialist party in any way, shape or form, just an attempt to co-opt a popular political name. However, “national” and “socialist” are contradictions in terms, and the traditional Socialist parties had large Jewish memberships. My grandfather was a Socialist – once the Nazi’s took power, they told him he could keep his teaching job, provided he divorced his Jewish wife.

About the secret police thing:

There was an incredible mess of acronyms (totalitarian states are always doubleplusfond of acronyms) regarding the police apparatus. Security agencies were continously founded, renamed, re-organized and merged with other security agencies, while the party was maintaining its own service, partially because the party leadership intentiously tried to make the thing incomprehensible for outsiders; shortings in the area include RSHA, Gestapo, Sipo, SD and whatnot.

Well the whole point of the name was to suggest that “national” and “socialist” were not contradictory - they were defining themselves as being against “international socialism.” Of course, in practice this was largely mere co-option of the name and Hitler’s statements on how he was socialist tended to result in vapid formulae about how class division would be irrelevant in a NSDAP-run nation. Undoubtedly, members of left-wing socialist parties thought this wasn’t “socialism”, but equally there were those who weren’t and who thought Hitler’s usage perfectly reasonable. The bottom-line is that it’s invariably dangerous to assume that current usage of political terms maps directly to historical usage. By it’s very nature as highly-charged language, the range of possible meanings tends to be quite specific to particular times and places.

After the Nazis took power, those who were closer in ideology to “real” socialism wanted to stage a “second revolution” that would overthrow the landed aristocracy and take control of the means of production. Hitler quickly put a stop to any such notions.

Very true.

IIRC the original shortform name of the Nazi party was to be “Nossos,” but a journalist circa early '20s called them Nazi’s and the name stuck.

Cite: Idiot’s Guide to WWII