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"Nazis - Right or Left?" Topic


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07 Jul 2018 9:03 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian07 Dec 2017 3:38 p.m. PST

How do you classify Nazis on the political spectrum? Are they 'left' due to being National Socialists? Are they 'right' due to being ultra-conservative?

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP07 Dec 2017 3:43 p.m. PST

What about the Nazis would you call "conservative"?
Hitler himself considered what he was doing Revolutionary.

Trying to stick them on a linear chart is pointless. On a circular line, they would meet Stalin on one extreme.

So, the correct answer is "Yes".

Cherno07 Dec 2017 3:48 p.m. PST

Their policies were anything but left, but they still had the "socialist" and "worker's" in their name to appeal to the working class.

Legion 407 Dec 2017 3:58 p.m. PST

For some reason … I don't particularly think of them as "liberal" …

peterx Supporting Member of TMP07 Dec 2017 4:05 p.m. PST

They were definitely ultra right wing. The Brownshirt SA fought the Socialists and Communists in the streets in the 1920s and 1930s. They killed and beat the leftists when they could. The Nazis also jailed and killed the leftists when Hitler took power in Germany. They attacked, jailed and killed: the Democratic Socialists, the Socialists, the Communists and Anarchists. The Nazis attacked the left in every country they defeated with concentration camps, death camps and death squads. They rounded up the leftists, intellectuals, scientists, artists, and dissenters of every stripe. The Nazis used the word "socialist" and "worker" to woo workers and working class voters from the true socialists and communists.
In addition, Nazis banned all unions and jailed unionists. Anti-leftist to the bone. Not to mention,their vicious hatred of the USSR and fear of Bolsheveks and Communists. Just like now in the USA and Europe, where ever the ultra-right rears it's violent, intolerant and vicious head.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP07 Dec 2017 4:05 p.m. PST

Hmmmm……IIRC children of that era in that country
were encouraged to spy on their parents and report to
the authorities if the children felt anything was
wrong or their parents 'misbehaved'.

No echoes to our times, right ??

Personal logo Scott MacPhee Supporting Member of TMP07 Dec 2017 4:14 p.m. PST

They were national socialists, which I guess put them slightly to the right of the international socialists.

I fail to see anything conservative about a state run economy, all individual rights subsumed to the supposed good of the collective, powerful bureaucracy responsive only to party leaders, or government control of all media organs.

peterx Supporting Member of TMP07 Dec 2017 4:15 p.m. PST

I do not wish to defend in any way Stalin or Stalin's government or it's horrible practices. The USSR was a repressive, brutal and total dictatorship. It acted like a brutal, violent right wing government of the 1930s and 1940s in many ways.

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP07 Dec 2017 4:15 p.m. PST

Fascism is definitely far to the right.

Personal logo Scott MacPhee Supporting Member of TMP07 Dec 2017 4:27 p.m. PST

Rather than just state that it's to the far right, please state WHY you think that.

Yes, they fought communists. So did other flavors of communists.

Sundance Supporting Member of TMP07 Dec 2017 4:30 p.m. PST

Right wing? Learn history. They fought communists. They were socialists. The reason they and the communists hated each other was they thought the commies went too far while the commies didn't think they went far enough. Where people think of them as being conservative is because they were nationalists. And they did things little differently from Cuba, Venezuela and even Mexico in those terms. Again, learn some history. They weren't fascists. There were two fascist states in Europe in WWII – Spain and Italy. They were left wing whether you want to admit it or not. The name itself says so and they believed wholeheartedly in it.

Mobius07 Dec 2017 4:36 p.m. PST

They certainly were not small government conservatives. But they did not nationalize all industries.

14th NJ Vol Supporting Member of TMP07 Dec 2017 4:39 p.m. PST

Scott MacPhee has it correct.

huevans01107 Dec 2017 4:44 p.m. PST

They were right wing because they had a nationalist ideology. Socialists and communists had an ideology which stated that the international proletariat had a common enemy in the bourgeoisie. They had a very set belief system.

As with most other rightie movements of the time, Hitler emphasized race, national history and betrayal by non volkisch out-groups such as the Jews.

Hitler saw himself as "revolutionary" became he was taking a radical, bottom up approach to remaking the state pursuant to his right wing ideology. In this, he saw himself distinct from monarchist and aristocratic-elitist groups. Hence the use of revolutionary rhetoric and naming.

Doesn't make him a leftie by any stretch.

Hamilton07 Dec 2017 4:46 p.m. PST

David Brin just did a post about political charts today:
davidbrin.blogspot.com/2017/12/flawed-models-of-society-and-some-that.html

Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP07 Dec 2017 4:51 p.m. PST

Interesting discussion on the roots of fascism and marxism.
link

huevans01107 Dec 2017 4:52 p.m. PST

I do not wish to defend in any way Stalin or Stalin's government or it's horrible practices. The USSR was a repressive, brutal and total dictatorship. It acted like a brutal, violent right wing government of the 1930s and 1940s in many ways.

Well, it killed different types of people pursuant to different ideological reasons than Far Right regimes and it had a different state belief system. That would seem to make it quite different in my book.

What is confusing here is that neither Stalinism nor Nazism had any respect for the individual or his / her rights. They both saw themselves as authoritarian and brutal because they both wished to accomplish radical change very quickly. Stalinism wished to stomp out the remnants of bourgeois society. Nazism wished to kill traitor out groups like the Jews which it blamed for Germany's failure in WW 1 and to exterminate Slavs and to colonize Eastern Europe as a breadbasket for Greater Germany. In both regimes, everyone had to be either mobilized to effect those aims of else killed.

So both were brutal and both were authoritarian. But both were ideologically quite distinct.

whitejamest07 Dec 2017 4:53 p.m. PST

For historical analysis I think this is a good take on the question:
link

Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP07 Dec 2017 4:54 p.m. PST

Well, if you construe "Right" as the Rights of the individual and "Left" as the rights of the government. Then the answer is yes.

huevans01107 Dec 2017 4:58 p.m. PST

Well, if you construe "Right" as the Rights of the individual and "Left" as the rights of the government. Then the answer is yes.

But you can't analyze 1930's Europe with the same tools you use to vote for your state congressman in 2018 USA.

Belief systems were far different in 1930's Europe.

Teppsta07 Dec 2017 5:00 p.m. PST

Great post whitejamest

Above all, the Nazis were German white nationalists. What they stood for was the ascendancy of the "Aryan" race and the German nation, by any means necessary. Despite co-opting the name, some of the rhetoric, and even some of the precepts of socialism, Hitler and party did so with utter cynicism, and with vastly different goals. The claim that the Nazis actually were leftists or socialists in any generally accepted sense of those terms flies in the face of historical reality.

whitejamest07 Dec 2017 5:05 p.m. PST

I'd like to add that it's unfortunate this question can't be discussed without tapping into current political bitterness. It leads to a lot of unfortunate distortions.

Yes, the Nazis were extreme right wing, but that does not in any way discredit the core principles of the American political right today. The Nazis were extremist murderers, and the vision Hitler had for his country is appalling to American conservatives.

Similarly the fact that communists are generally seen as extreme left wingers does not have much bearing on what the modern political left wants to achieve.

When we turn the question into a political version of 'pin the tail on the donkey' it makes for bad history and bad civics.

huevans01107 Dec 2017 5:06 p.m. PST

They were national socialists, which I guess put them slightly to the right of the international socialists.

I fail to see anything conservative about a state run economy, all individual rights subsumed to the supposed good of the collective, powerful bureaucracy responsive only to party leaders, or government control of all media organs.

That's because you confuse "right" in contemorary US politics where the GOP takes a small government stance with "right" in 1930's European politics where small government was a centrist position.

The set up of 1930's European politics is that traditional parliamentarian politics are in the centre. To both sides are political movements who want to radically transform the state by authoritarian means. The left wants to wipe out the rich and establish a dictatorship to accomplish this. The right wants to destroy out groups like Jews who have "betrayed" the state and to build a large aggressive armed forces to invade and dominate neighbouring countries. Again, they want to accomplish these aims by authoritarian means.

So again I have to stress ideological differences between the two extremes and I add that both left and right were willing to kill large #'s of people to achieve their ultimate ambitions.

Both Democrats and GOP in the USA today are fundamentally similar to the parliamentary centre in 1930's Europe because they both accept democracy and reject coercion and violence.

Parzival07 Dec 2017 5:07 p.m. PST

"Left" and "right" as they are used today in America are terms that do not apply to the Nazis. Europe may have other views; certainly European concepts of "right" which I have heard bear little or no resemblance to "right" in America.

The Nazis believed in a dictatorial state with full control over all aspects of life, law, the arts and commerce. While they did not argue for state ownership (as such), the state nevertheless got to dictate what could and could not be produced and sold, and to regulate what could and could not be said, printed, or depicted in the arts,or for that matter, in religious settings. There really is no true parallel to this in what is called "the right" in the US. In fact, such policies are in the main anathema to the US right.

Certainly, the Nazi attitude on racial issues were extreme and evil, and there are those today who still hold such views. But in reality, those views come not from being either "right" or "left" politically, but from ignorance and a need to have a target to attack, whether as a way to gain power or as a way to make oneself feel better about being such an absolutely worthless example of humanity. Racial animosity thus as thoroughly infects the extreme "left" as it does the extreme "right." All you really have to do is swap the racial slurs on the protest signs to see this; they wind up reading the same.

In the end, I think labeling Nazis as either "far right" or "far left" is no longer valid, serving really only as a way to condemn one's political opposition with a tag that allows for demonization without consideration of actual views or goals of either side. It is simply Godwin's Law applied; an ad hominem attack used to cut off discussion.

By the way, this is different from simple prejudice. While prejudice is certainly condemnable, the mere act of assuming the worst of someone else (for whatever superficial reason) does not necessarily make one a bad person. True evil comes from allowing prejudice to cause you to decide it is okay to inflict harm or abuse on another person, or to justify the same. Simple prejudice can be the flaw of any random decent citizen on the street. True racial hatred is the realm of the Nazi.

Lion in the Stars07 Dec 2017 5:16 p.m. PST

Hitler saw himself as "revolutionary" became he was taking a radical, bottom up approach to remaking the state pursuant to his right wing ideology. In this, he saw himself distinct from monarchist and aristocratic-elitist groups. Hence the use of revolutionary rhetoric and naming.

So, an anti-monarchist/anti-aristocratic organization.

Under the original right-left definitions from France (where right-wing supported the monarchy and aristocracy), that makes the German National Socialists leftists.

(In the US, parts of the right-left discussion are flipped from Europe, since the right wing in the US supports the ideas of the Founding Fathers who were rather anti-monarchist and anti-aristocratic!)

28mm Fanatik07 Dec 2017 5:17 p.m. PST

This topic is actually not as clear cut as we may think and is debatable in political circles: link

deephorse07 Dec 2017 5:18 p.m. PST

@ Parzival

Just about the best post I've read on TMP in a long, long time.

whitejamest07 Dec 2017 5:20 p.m. PST

Both the left and the right in the US support the ideas of the founding fathers, even if they give different interpretations to a few ideas. Support for monarchies doesn't have a whole lot of bearing in the modern context.

huevans01107 Dec 2017 5:21 p.m. PST

Interesting discussion on the roots of fascism and marxism.
link

Stone Mountain minis, you would do well to read some of the more thoughtful links helpfully posted on this thread. I would suggest strongly that D' Souza is not a respected authority and is manipulative and dishonest.

You will end up holding opinions that offend many, many people and are acceptable only a to a few other adherents of D' Souza and those who play the same game.

huevans01107 Dec 2017 5:28 p.m. PST

So, an anti-monarchist/anti-aristocratic organization.

Under the original right-left definitions from France (where right-wing supported the monarchy and aristocracy), that makes the German National Socialists leftists.

(In the US, parts of the right-left discussion are flipped from Europe, since the right wing in the US supports the ideas of the Founding Fathers who were rather anti-monarchist and anti-aristocratic!)

Again, you are confusing different ideologies from different periods and then attempting to stretch the comparison even further by applying it to contemporary politics.

Hitler ideology was completely unknown and over a century into the future at the time of the French Revolution.

The opposition to Monarchists in early 1800's France were liberals. These became the centrists in 1930's Europe.

There was no Far Left or Far Right in 1800's France because the ideological groundwork of those beliefs systems – theories, ideas, attitudes – was still a century in the future. It would be like asking a Medieval monk to talk about astro physics. The vocabulary and idea framework would not be there.

You can't take a superficial look at Hitler, suck up a few buzzwords and draw conclusions that apply to modern day.

Unfortunately, you cherry picked the one, sole, single point in any of my several posts that might be taken out of context and twisted to fit your own opinion and ignored everything else I wrote.

Retiarius907 Dec 2017 5:30 p.m. PST

using violence to silence opposing views, definately LEFT, like ANTIFA of today

huevans01107 Dec 2017 5:34 p.m. PST

using violence to silence opposing views, definately LEFT, like ANTIFA of today

How about the Nazis in Charlotteville? They used violence to silence opposing views too.

whitejamest07 Dec 2017 5:35 p.m. PST

In a similarly rigorous piece of logic: The Nazis killed people. The ancient Aztecs killed people. Therefore the Nazis were ancient Aztecs.

Blutarski07 Dec 2017 5:35 p.m. PST

Good Lord, not this again …..

The original and seminal political tracts and speeches of the founders of Fascism and National Socialism are quite easy to locate on the web. Seek them out, read them for yourself in the original and draw your own conclusions about where these political movements fell on the Left/Right political spectrum.

B

Mark 107 Dec 2017 5:41 p.m. PST

In current US political dialog, "left" is defined as anyone who is not liked by those who self-identify as "right", and vice versa.

The actual definitions of "left" and "right" are entirely absent from the national dialog.

Honestly, the concept of a bunch of minerworkers (traditionally hard-left unionists) siding with the politician approved by the mine owners (traditionally hard-right laissez-faire'ists) probably causes both Adam Smith and Karl Marx to roll over in their graves….

It is all about shouting insults, and about 40% of the country considers "left" to be an insult, while about 45% of the country considers "right" to be an insult. It appears that 15% of the country don't care left or right, but just vote against whoever has any government experience, backed by about 40% of the country who consider "intellectual" to be an insult, and 75% of the country considers "politician" to be an insult.

And 85% of the country thinks that anyone who uses statistics must be either a politician or an intellectual, or both.


-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

14Bore07 Dec 2017 5:47 p.m. PST

Did I start this?
The Left devide began in the openingg of WWII when the Communists and fascist broke up their pact. The Communists started calling the Nazis 'Right wing' but reality the onlg difference is the Germans Nationalism with all classes fighting for the common state. Communism was a class warfare, workers for the state
link

Dn Jackson07 Dec 2017 6:09 p.m. PST

Far left. They controlled what industry could produce, they believed in eugenics, an extension of Darwinism and a rejection of God, and they claimed to be socialists. When someone says, "I'm a socialist." I believe them. the reason they hated and fought communists was two fold, the Nazis were nationalists while the communists were internationalists, and they were fighting for control of the same country.

Blutarski07 Dec 2017 6:16 p.m. PST

Go here for a start -

PDF link

Program of the National Socialist Party, promulgated in Munich, 1920.

B

VCarter Supporting Member of TMP07 Dec 2017 6:18 p.m. PST

Nazi or communist two sides of the same coin.

You become an enemy of the state and you will be killed.

Both are government by the biggest most evil corporation man can devise.

Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP07 Dec 2017 6:19 p.m. PST

"would suggest strongly that D' Souza is not a respected authority and is manipulative and dishonest."

Cite your sources or it is just your opinion.

Blutarski07 Dec 2017 6:25 p.m. PST

Welcome to the Great Age of Industrialized Propaganda and the Big Lie, where black is white, left is right, love is hate and slavery is freedom.

….. with a rueful tip of the hat to George Orwell, whose fair warning sadly appears to have been ignored.

B

rmaker07 Dec 2017 6:34 p.m. PST

The whole Right v. Left thing is nonsense. Trying to classify belief systems based on where you think their representatives would have sat in the Chambre de Deputes in 1789 is just plain stupid. Political belief is not and has never been a uni-dimensional linear phenomenon. Nor are any ideologues particularly consistent.

Some have stated that Hitler was right-wing because he espoused nationalistic propaganda. OK, Stalin did, too, so is Soviet Communism also right-wing?

Some say Nazis were right-wing because they fought Communists. Does that mean that Kerensky's Socialists and Trotsky's, uh, Communists were also right-wing?

Pyrrhic Victory Supporting Member of TMP07 Dec 2017 6:35 p.m. PST

Honestly what is point of this thread other than to start a political flame war? There is nothing here that will either illuminate or inform WW2 tabletop gaming. All this does is remind me that there is a large percentage of gamers that I will always vehemently disagree with

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP07 Dec 2017 6:40 p.m. PST

Just because they called themselves National Socialists doesn't mean they were socialists. The Nazis supported a very, very rich group of capitalist business owners and most certainly were not interested in the rights of the common man except when they could jam the common man into a coal scuttel helmet and field grey tunic

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian07 Dec 2017 6:44 p.m. PST

There is nothing here that will either illuminate or inform WW2 tabletop gaming.

I think the poll results will be educational.

Silurian07 Dec 2017 6:47 p.m. PST

Plus 1 to Mark 1

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP07 Dec 2017 7:07 p.m. PST

Scott Macphee: "Yes, they fought communists. So did other flavors of communists"

Lol. Spot on. So simple too. Just because someone fights a Marxist group does not mean that their ideologies and methodology have to be diametrically opposed. Why is it so hard for people to understand that these days? Is it that the topic is being clouded on purpose?

If Hitler and Mussolini had risen through the ranks of their revolutionary socialist associates, and had reached lofty positions and power within those hierarchies of bullies/thugs, they might have never formed their own groups and turned on their former radical buddies.

VCarter: "Nazi or communist two sides of the same coin. You become an enemy of the state and you will be killed. Both are government by the biggest most evil corporation man can devise."

That says it all right there. They are varieties of a cancer.

Dan
PS. When I asked my uncle what was the biggest difference between the Nazis and the Communists his answer was simple … sharper uniforms.

Blutarski07 Dec 2017 7:08 p.m. PST

You can lead a horse to water, but …..

B

Bill N07 Dec 2017 7:10 p.m. PST

Are we talking about how they were viewed by their contemporaries, or are we judging the by today's standards.

Garth in the Park07 Dec 2017 7:15 p.m. PST

Hitler courted Big Business and – after he got out of jail – depended upon their largess for campaign contributions to fund his party's expansion. He then appointed several of them to cabinet positions, the most important of whom was Hjalmar Schacht.

Contrary to what some have said here, Nazi Germany was NOT a state-run economy. Not even close. Big Businesses and small businesses remained privately-owned and for-profit until the very end. Some Nazi leaders had a predatory relationship with companies whose leaders opposed them, and they seized their assets, but then continued to run them privately and for-profit. (Göring, for example, owned a large steel works in Austria.)

Within two months of coming to power Hitler abolished the labor unions and jailed most of the Socialist and Communist party leaders.

The Nazis promoted a "My country do-or-die" nationalism, backed up by a hatred of foreigners and aliens, and tried to purge the country of "Bolshevism" and modern art, cinema, and music, all of which they hated.

They were aggressively patriotic and militaristic and hated the Left for not being so.

They drew support from people who had belonged to other far-Right and nationalist parties, from veterans' groups, and from monarchists. Hitler tried to persuade the Hohenzollerns to support him, albeit with limited success. The huge jump in Nazi electoral performance between 1928 and 1930, is due to them taking votes from those parties.

Sure, the original Nazi platform – written before Hitler joined the party – has some Lefty-sounding ideas. Hitler then ignored the platform completely. When the old-school SA men got angry that Hitler was cozying-up to big business and suits in general, and when Röhm encouraged them to try to pressure Hitler on these points, Hitler responding by killing them.

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