Thursday, 24 January 2008

German Fascism: Because Germans were Fascist when They were Nazis, but not Liberal when They were Fascists (Last post on this insanity, I promise.) For some reason, I keep hearing people claim that socialism, not fascism, is responsible for the beast of Nazi Germany. ("Did they not call themselves 'National Socialists'?") They insist the Nazis were only dubbed fascists after WWII so that liberals might distance their beloved socialist convictions from the horrors of the Holocaust. I'm not above (below?) accusing post-WWII liberals of fudging the historical record in order to seem more saintly. (Basis of the dissertation, you know?) But this new refrain is all about the present. The Nazis were considered fascists back in the day, as is evident if you read things written back in the day. From The New York Times, 24 July 1923: This element—former junior officers in the great war and their young brothers—today forms the backbone of German Fascism, as it did in Italy. In Germany especially they have nothing to lose—except their lives, which war experience and subsequent economic pressure taught them to value lightly—but much to gain by any upset. The Russian fear that if an outbreak occurs, even were it under the red flag of Communism, the real control of the movement would pass to those young soldiers of German nationalism. Given what we know about the Nazi Party and who ran it, it seems to me the Russians were right. More from "German Leaders Divided on Nazis: Middle Party Leaders Favor Forcing Fascists into Cabinent as Means of Curbing Them," The New York Times, 28 December 1930: Whether German Fascism will be actively represented in the government during the coming year now depends largely on the course of Parliamentary developments after the Reichstag resumes its sessions on Feb. 2 and such an eventuality as a new election. Adolf Hitler is known to be definitely opposed to having his party enter the government so long as it is only second in rank. On our side of the pond, we find items like "15,000 Reds Cheer Attacks on Hitler," The New York Times, 6 April 1933: All of these were charged with aiding and abetting German Fascism. The audience was told, and it cheered the sentiment, that the Hitler regime and its persecutions of Jews and political opponents would end only with the victory of communism in Germany. In 1933, the World Committee for the Victims of German Fascism published The Brown Book of Hitler Terror ... so it seems to me that plenty of people considered the Nazi regime to be fascist at the time. It was no ex post facto slur the way "Social Darwinist" was.

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