Last modified on June 16, 2023, at 15:38

Nazism and socialism

One of the most well known political parties of the 20th century which was socialistic was the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazi Party) which was headed by the evolutionary racist Adolf Hitler. [1][2][3]
A Nazi German and Soviet Communist officer shake hands after their successful invasion of Poland in September 1939.
Political spectrum chart based on the degree of power government wields over the individual.

National socialism (also known as Nazism) is a form of socialism.

Socialism is a liberal economic system with state ownership or control of the all the major means of production and distribution of goods and services.[4] Socialism is the economic system imposed by Communism, but another one of the most well-known political parties of the 20th century which was socialistic was the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazi Party) which was headed by the evolutionary racist Adolf Hitler.[5][6][7] Often socialism is a matter of degree and numerous economies in the world are very socialistic such as European countries (many of which are facing financial difficulties).[8]

The Ludwig von Mises Institute declares:

The identification of Nazi Germany as a socialist state was one of the many great contributions of Ludwig von Mises...

The basis of the claim that Nazi Germany was capitalist was the fact that most industries in Nazi Germany appeared to be left in private hands.

What Mises identified was that private ownership of the means of production existed in name only under the Nazis and that the actual substance of ownership of the means of production resided in the German government. For it was the German government and not the nominal private owners that exercised all of the substantive powers of ownership: it, not the nominal private owners, decided what was to be produced, in what quantity, by what methods, and to whom it was to be distributed, as well as what prices would be charged and what wages would be paid, and what dividends or other income the nominal private owners would be permitted to receive. The position of the alleged private owners, Mises showed, was reduced essentially to that of government pensioners.

De facto government ownership of the means of production, as Mises termed it, was logically implied by such fundamental collectivist principles embraced by the Nazis as that the common good comes before the private good and the individual exists as a means to the ends of the State. If the individual is a means to the ends of the State, so too, of course, is his property. Just as he is owned by the State, his property is also owned by the State.[9]

Owing to this, National Socialism also has some similarities to Marxist states, including placing party cronies in charge of production, many times with them not knowing a thing about production. Albert Speer, the Minister of Armaments and War Production, frequently complained about the cronyism practiced by the Nazis in the arms industry, citing that several of the people in charge had absolutely no knowledge about the industry and had merely been appointed by the Nazi party.[10] In addition, Hitler on May 21, 1930, freely admitted that the Nazis ideology was socialist and that it was the same stripe as Marxism to Otto Strasser.[11] Earlier, he also publicly declared his socialist views during the May Day parades of 1927 with the following: "We are socialists, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak,…"[12] Indeed, he later expressed regret that he simply used "socialist" in the Nazi party name only in the sense he felt it didn't make the party's Marxist roots blatant enough, thinking he should have gone for the more Marxist title of "Social revolutionary".[13] In addition, the Nazi flag used red as a predominant color for the exact same reason as the socialists in Russia: It acted as the symbolic blood color. Even the Swastika was utilized for various Socialist groups prior to Nazi Germany's creation, including several Soviet units a little while after World War I (called the Soviet Swastika), with even Vladimir Lenin considering adopting the symbol for the party initially.[14]

See also


  4. Meriam-Webster
  11. Hitler, spoken to Otto Strasser, Berlin, May 21, 1930 – Alan Bullock, Hitler: a Study in Tyranny, pp.156-7.
  12. Hitler’s speech on May 1, 1927. Cited in Toland, J., Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography, Garden City, N.Y. : Doubleday, p. 224. Other editions have the quote on p. 306.
  13. Konrad Heiden. A History of National Socialism. Oxon, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Routledge, 2010. p. 85
  14. Albert L. Week, Stalin’s Other War: Soviet Grand Strategy, 1939-1941, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2002, p. 52.