Nazi Party

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The flag of Nazi Germany

Nazis is an acronym for the National Socialist German Workers' Party (German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei).


Adolf Hitler exploited the myth of the “Stab in the Back,” the belief that the war had been lost because “disloyal” elements within Germany – Jews and Marxists – had undermined the war effort. As William Shirer put it in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,

"To him, as to almost all Germans, it was ‘monstrous’ and undeserved. The German army had not been defeated in the field. It had been stabbed in the back by the traitors at home.

Thus emerged for Hitler, as or so many Germans, a fanatical belief in the legend of the ‘stab in the back’ which, more than anything else, was to undermine the Weimar Republic and pave the way for Hitler’s ultimate triumph.” [1]

The origin of the Nazi Party itself was a small group called The German Workers' Party, founded by a locksmith named Anton Drexler who, in 1918, had set up a “Committee of Independent Workmen” in reaction to the Marxism of the free trade unions.[2] A year later The German Workers Party was formed when this merged with another group, the Political Workers' Circle. [3] [4]

It was Adolf Hitler, who joined the party and was put in charge of propaganda in 1920, who transformed this small group into what we now know as the Nazi Party through his great skill in politics and public speaking. That same year the words “National Socialist” were added to the party name and it became “The National Socialist German Workers Party” (NSDAP). The Storm Troopers (Sturmabteilung, SA) in their distinctive brown uniforms, were organized first to kick out hecklers at Nazi meetings, then to break up the meetings of other parties. The hakenkreuz (literally: hooked cross), or the swastika, was adopted in the party’s flag. By the following summer, Hitler himself had taken over as leader (de: Führer) of the party.

  • Here we have the core of Nazism: (i) a very strong dose of German anti-semitism (with a paranoid belief in a conspiracy between Jewish financiers who control the capitalist economy and steal from the Germans, Jewish liberal intellectuals who preach humanism and enfeeble the Germans, and Jewish communists who seek to enslave the Germans; (ii) a belief in the German nation and the "aryan" German race as an entity with a special, heroic destiny; (iii) war as the ultimate test of national strength and worth; and (iv) conquest--with extermination or removal of the resident population--to create more "living space" or the German people and larger fields for the German farmers. Add to this (a) the "leadership principle"--a hatred of parliamentary institutions, and a belief that a good political order sees an inspired leader giving people vision and commands (rather than see parliamentarians haggle and compromise on behalf of interest groups)--(b) the use of terror to obtain obedience, and (c) the desire to make sure that all of society's organizations serve the national cause, and you have Nazism. [1]


The Nazis were highly anti-Semitic and blamed the Jews for the problems in Germany. They made laws against Jews ("Rassengesetze", race laws) which places successively tighter restrictions on the rights of Jews to own property, use public services, live in some areas, enter public spaces and eventually required Jews wear a Star of David on their clothing. The Jews were mistreated, persecuted, and killed by the Nazis. The Nazi state also persecuted other political opponents, Jehovah's Witnesses, Freemasons, and foreign nationals. Homosexuals[5]came under increasing scrutiny and persecution in the later years of the régime. The Nazis exterminated about 11 million civilians by rounding them up, transporting them to concentration camps and then murdering them there. About 6 million of these were Jews (see Holocaust).

Economic planning


James Burnham, a former Trotskyite who served with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during the World War II and later contributed to the National Review, described the Nazi regime's economic planning. Burnham pointed out how the original "workers revolution" of Marxism had in fact become a managerial revolution in all societies were Socialism had been embraced. Writing in 1940, Burnham noted,

Outright state ownership and operation, advancing in all fields, are particularly ascendant in the extensive areas of new enterprise opened up during the Nazi rule....virtually all economic enterprise is subject to rigid state control; and it is control which we have seen to be decisive in relation to the instruments of production. Legal forms, even income privileges, are in the end subordinate to de facto control.

Even where private owners still exist in Germany, the decisions about "their" property are not in their hands. They do not decide what to make or not to make. They do not establish prices or bargain about wages. They are not at liberty to buy the raw materials they might choose nor to seek the most profitable markets. They cannot, as a rule, decide how to invest or not invest their surplus funds. In short, they are no longer owners, no longer effective capitalists...

The regulation of production in Germany is no longer left to the market. What is to be produced, and how much, is decided, deliberately, by groups of men, by the state boards and bureaus and commissions. It is they that decide whether a new plant shall be built or an old plant retired, how raw materials shall be allotted and orders distributed, what quotas must be fulfilled by various branches of industry, what goods shall be put aside for export, how prices shall be fixed and credit and exchange extended. There is no requirement that these decisions of the bureaus must be based on any profit aim in the capitalist sense. If it is thought expedient, for whatever reason, to produce, for example, an ersatz rubber or wool or food, this will be done even if the production entails, from a capitalist point of view, a heavy loss. Similarly, in order to accumulate foreign exchange or to stimulate some political effect in a foreign nation, goods will be exported regardless of loss. A factory may be compelled to shut down, even though it could operate at a high profit. Banks and individuals are forced to invest their funds with no reference to the private and voluntary opinions about "risks" from a profit standpoint. It is literally true to say that the Nazi economy, already, is not a "profit economy."

The workers, on their side, are no longer the "free proletarians " of capitalism. Under Nazism the workers are indeed, free from unemployment. At the same time they cannot, as individuals or through their own independent organizations, bargain for wages or change jobs at will. They are assigned to their tasks, and their labor conditions are fixed, by the decisions of the state bureaus and commissions. Millions of them are allotted to the vast state enterprises. ...With the reduction in the area of private enterprise and the increase of state enterprise, goes also a corresponding reduction in the social position of the private capitalists. So far as control over the instruments of production goes, the capitalists are already near the bottom. As to income privilege: a recent estimate by a New York statistician gives as a mere 5% the share of the German national income going to profits and interest. This is a substantial reduction from the 1933 figures, in spite of a huge increase in the total national income, which, under capitalism, would normally be accompanied by a percentage increase in profits. ...f the German capitalists' 5%, the greater part is appropriated by the state as taxes and "contributions." ... seldom we find a manager among the voluntary or forced exiles from Nazi Germany! There are artists and writers among the exiles, ideologists and politicians, unassailable foes of the new regime, storekeepers and professionals and teachers, and not a few capitalists, both Jews and Christians. But almost never a manager....Germany is to-day a managerial state in an early stage. Structurally, it is less advanced along managerial lines than Russia; ...though structurally less advanced...Its industrial and technological foundation is far stronger; the rising managerial class is much larger, better trained, more able...

...The first part of the second world war, up to the fall of France in June, 1940, was in reality the continuation of the strategic extension begun in 1935. This phase, the consolidation of the European base, was completed with France's surrender. It is completed irreversibly and can no longer be undone whatever the outcome of the succeeding phases of the war, which are really other wars. This consolidation fundamental to the world politics of managerial society, is not going to be dissolved, not even if the present German regime is utterly defeated. The day of a Europe carved into a score of sovereign states is over; if the states remain, they will be little more than administrative units in a larger collectivity. [6]


  1. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Book One, “The Rise of Adolph Hitler.”
  2. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Book One, “The Rise of Adolph Hitler.”
  3. Shoah Resource Center,
  5. Hans Peter Bleuel, Sex and Society in Nazi Germany, (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1973).
  6. James Burnham, The Managerial Revolution, Indiana University Press, Bloomingham 1966, pgs. 222-226, 232.

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