‘I would like to put it on record that I have never been able to dislike Hitler’
(George Orwell: Review of Mein Kampf – March 21st, 1940)
Was Hitler’s National Socialism ‘Socialist’? The resounding answer is no. Although a glimmer similarity might be assumed due to Hitler sharing resources (to a certain extent) throughout German society, this sharing was premised upon the racial idea that the German people constituting a superior race, and as such, could exploit (and eradicate) any of the other races with impunity. In other words, Hitler’s Socialism is merely an ultra rightwing ‘Nationalism’ of the worst kind. Indeed, the term Socialism is not required as a means to describe Hitler’s Nationalist policies of oppression, persecution, warfare, and mass murder (including German critics of his thinking). This raises the all-important question of what exactly is Socialism? Within utopian theories of Socialism (many with religious undertones), to be a Socialist is to be an individual (or group) that strives toward generating a fairer, and more egalitarian society, primarily through political and legal reforms. This type of Socialism (often linked to Christianity) did exist in Germany, but was not of much interest to Hitler, who tended to view its associated ideas as the wishful thinking of a privileged class. As this type of Socialism tended to avoid talk of sudden, violent, or dramatic Revolution, Hitler had no time for it. Marxist notions of Socialism, however, were a different matter for Hitler, as Hitler hated Marx and Marxism (in any form) as being the product of an international Jewish conspiracy to take over the world. The intellectual clarity of Marxian thinking stoked Hitler’s imagination and raised his anger to fever pitch. Marx stated that the industrialised working class (the ‘proletariat’) was an international entity and defined all attempts of limiting identity to ‘nations’ as being nothing but bourgeois shams. The international working class suffered a lack of power because the regional bourgeoisie kept them entrapped in false notions of ‘race’ and ‘national identity’. Marx advocated that the working class unites around the world, and as it is far more numerous than the bourgeoisie that holds it captive, should rise-up and seize power for itself, abolishing the bourgeoisie over-night. By seizing power for itself, it would also seize the immense wealth the bourgeoisie had stolen from the workers over many decades of exploitation, and re-distribute throughout society, investing in schools, healthcare, hygiene and the progression of science. This new society would represent an evolutionary progression from a State of predatory capitalism, and into a State of egalitarian Socialism. However, this process will often take many years depending upon the socio-economic development of a country, and the prevailing historical and contemporary (material) conditions. Therefore, from the Marxist perspective, ‘Socialism’ represents a theoretical mid-point between the over-throw of capitalism, and the development of the condition of ‘Communism’, within which all aspects of the formal State have withered away. Obviously, Hitler’s notion of ‘Socialism’ merely refers to his own skewed notion of a privileged race.
George Orwell’s admiration for Adolf Hitler and the apparent strength of his rhetoric was shared by Winston Church, Henry Ford, the British royal family, and thousands of others living within liberal democracies. Far from being a lone psychopath peddling his fantasies to empty rooms, Adolf Hitler was tremendously popular firstly across different sectors of German society, and then throughout the world. Indeed, support for his anti-Communist ideology extended to the Roman Catholic Church (through Pope Pious XI and XII), and even Leon Trotsky – the Soviet dissident and traitor who, in 1938, called upon his followers to assist the forces of International Fascism in an all out attack upon the Soviet Union (simultaneously demanding that Soviet Citizens carry-out ‘terrorist’ attacks internally upon Soviet Administrative targets, etc). Indeed, Trotsky’s distortion of ‘Socialism’ may well have been influenced by Hitler’s writings. The point is that Hitler’s thinking was certainly not unpopular in the 1920’s and 1930’s, and still fuels a rabid political rightwing today. The strength of his thinking can be seen in modern (capitalist) Russia, where the ‘National Bolshevik Movement’ seeks to combine Hitlerite racist rhetoric with elements of Marxist-Leninism and Marxist-Stalinism. Of course, this movement is a sham that misuses the term ‘Bolshevik’ and which has nothing to do with the Communist Party of Russia.
Volume One of Mein Kampf was written throughout 1924 whilst Hitler was in prison. I have heard two versions of its origins. The first is that Hitler dictated the text to his Secretary Rudolf Hess (who was in the next cell), and the other version is that Hitler wrote the original draft, which was so bad that Nazi journalists had to re-write it in a more coherent and reader-friendly format. Hitler’s prefered title for his book was ‘Four and a Half Years (of Struggle) Against Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice’ (Viereinhalb Jahre (des Kampfes) gegen Lüge, Dummheit und Feighei), but this was shortened to ‘Mein Kampf’, or ‘My Struggle’. Following its publication in 1925, its sales remained low (selling just 20,000 copies). Following his release from prison in late 1924, Hitler spent much of his time in Berchtesgaden (Bavaria), where he wrote volume Two of ‘Mein Kampf’, which was published in 1926. Again, sales were average to low. However, once Hitler took power in 1933, the ideological blue-print Hitler laid-out in Main Kampf becomes Nazi State Creed and is ruthlessly applied throughout German society. Mein Kampf became the official textbook of all German education, and sales expand dramatically – but not only in Germany. Mein Kampf was published in English (abridged) in October, 1933, with much of the most obvious anti-Semitism being omitted, and some of its most war-like rhetoric removed. Today, with the revival of the far-right, and the US, UK and EU anti-Russia policy of supporting neo-Nazism in Western Ukraine (and throughout Eastern Europe), Mien Kampf has been extensively translated and re-printed to general approval around the world.
Hitler was not a Socialist. Following WWI, Hitler (and many Germans like him) blamed Germany’s defeat upon not upon the actions of the enemy, or the shortcomings of their on generals, but rather upon what they saw as the ‘enemy within’, This enemy was defined as German Jews. Furthermore, the German people had tried to facilitate a Communist Revolution in Germany after WWI, but this was ruthlessly put-down by the German State and volunteer armies of ultra rightwing nationalists (with Hitler being a member of the latter). The ideology of Marxism, and Marxist-Leninism had been very popular amongst ordinary German people (who strove to build a Socialist society), but Hitler and the German right viewed Karl Marx as a ‘Jew’ and Marxism as a ‘Jewish conspiracy’ designed to attack and destroy German totalitarian government, history and tradition. Hitler countered the popularity of Marxist Socialism amongst the ordinary German people, with his invention of ‘National Socialism’ (‘Nazi’ for short), which maybe defined as a direct ideological attack upon Marxism. Indeed, whilst in prison in 1924, Hitler ordered books to read about Marxism, and spent time concocting a distorted vision of Socialism for use by the ultra nationalists.
Volume One of Mein Kampf blames everything upon the Jews, and calls for the destruction of France and Britain (in revenge for the humiliation enforced upon Germany at the end of WWI), Volume two blames everything upon the Jews and calls for the destruction of Soviet Russia (defining the Slavic race as ‘inferior’ and Communism the ideology of degenerate Judaism). Whereas Marx premised his theory of Scientific Socialism upon ‘class’, Hitler bases his theory upon ‘race’. Whereas Marx advocates ‘Internationalism’, Hitler prefers ‘Nationalism’. Whereas Marx seeks to put an end to racism, Hitler seeks to make racism ‘normal’. Whereas Marx wants to free the working class from capitalism, Hitler wants to keep the working class enslaved and controlled by a ruling elite. Whereas Marx wants to do away with corrupt bourgeois morality (and replace it with a sublime proletariat morality), Hitler views all morality as being contrived by inferior races – Hitler believes that if these inferior races are eradicated, then their contrived ideas of morality will die with them. Whereas Marx suggests that nature can be controlled by a Socialist moral order, Hitler thinks that nature is brutal and cruel, and that humanity should also become brutal and crawl. Whereas Marx talks about the members of the working class ‘helping’ one another in comradeship, Hitler suggests that the working class should make suffering its natural state of being, and subordinate itself to following the will of a single leader. Whereas Marx laments warfare, Hitler is of the opinion that all warfare is ‘good’ and in the best interests of the German people. Whereas Marx advocated compassion, Hitler states that the highest form of brutality – as it accords with nature – is also the greatest good, and is the highest form of action. Whereas Marx advocates ‘Revolution’, Hitler firmly adheres to a course of ‘counter-Revolution’.
Having supplanted ‘class’ with ‘race’, Mein Kampf becomes what the National Socialists intended it to be, namely what they saw as an antidote to Marxism. This is Hitler’s attempt at mimicking Marx’s ‘Das Kapital’ and many other technical books, but Mein Kampf does not possess any of the intellectual sophistication displayed by Marx, and perhaps that is deliberate. Hitler believed that the best propaganda was also the most basic and simplistic, because it had to appeal to the most simple-minded within German society. Marx, on the other hand, demanded that the ignorant state of the workers must be remedied with longterm and extensive education. As an educated worker is not in the best interests of Hitler’s vision for his superior Germanic race, educating the workers beyond his own limitations is not allowed. A German worker must be educated within Hitlerite thinking only, and never question the German State, its ideology or its actions. This is why – within Russian language narratives – Nazi German workers (and their allies) are referred to as ‘sheep’. Hitler (like Trotsky) borrowed the term ‘Socialism’ and distorted it into an entirely different concept than that advocated by the utopian thinkers, and of course, Karl Marx. Hitlerite Socialism is not Socialist at all, but rather an oppressive nationalism designed to enslave the workers and keep them content in this ignorant slumber by providing them with the basics of life, whilst ordering them to take life and give their own lives in a pointless and thoughtless manner. The point is that WWII unfolded more or less as Hitler outlined in Mein Kampf, with Hitler refusing to deviate very much in the early 1940’s, from his expressed rhetoric in 1925. In this regard, his thinking remains remarkably rigid, and clear in the sense that once Mein Kampf is studied and understood in all its implications, then the thought processes of Adolf Hitler can be correspondingly known in their entirety. Hitler did not possess the intellectual insight of Karl Marx, and so had to settle for attacking Marxist theory with race-hate, immortality, amorality and genocide. One notable success Hitler achieved by using the term ‘Socialism’ was that the US ideologues (after WWII) would use this as an excuse to associate (and conflate) German Nazism with Soviet Communism during the Cold War. However, when Hitler was hiding in his Berlin bunker in early 1945, he must have realised that Marxist-Leninism (and therefore ‘true’ Socialism) was going to be the cause of his demise, and that the Soviet System had triumphed over the destruction he had so carefully prepared for the world in the pages of Mein Kampf.