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Seizing Socialism:
An analysis of the relationship of Nazism to Marxism Byron L. Harmon

In contemporary political discourse guilt by association arguments are prominent. Political groups associate or dissociate themselves or their opponents with historical figures as a means of persuasion. This paper seeks to grapple with the ambiguous connection between Nazism and Marxism. To answer this question, the world views and comparative policies will be examined. Using primary sources, their stances on the following issues will be examined: race struggle and class struggle, particularity and universality, particular social policies, democracy, private property and antisemitism. The evidence indicates a nuanced answer, one that does not accord Nazism with either extreme of similarity or dissimilarity to Marxism.

Key Words: Marxism, Nazism, democracy, race, class, struggle, internationalism, antisemitism, policy, worldview, eternal, homogenization, Table of Contents
Introduction Discussion of Answers Sources Worldview/metanarratives Primacy of German Volk Lack of Particularity of Marxism Internationalism and Nationalism Specific Social Policies Lebensraum Private Property 2 2 2-3 3-6 5 6 7-8 8-10 11-12 12

Democracy Eternity and the End of History

13-14 14-15

Racial Homogeneity and Classlessness Antisemitism Conclusion Bibliography

15-16 17-18 19 20

He who refuses to speak of socialism, who believes in socialism only in the Marxist sense, or to whom the word socialism has an unpleasant ring, has not understood the deepest meaning of nationalism. (Hermann Goring, Nationalism and Socialism, 1933) From a theoretical standpoint, the Nazis have long held an ambiguous and tenuous grasp on socialism. This has resulted in many guilt-by-association accusations being leveled against Marxism and the word socialism itself. The correlation of the two largely stems from the official name of the Nazi party: National Socialist German Workers Party(NSDAP). That is, the addition of the word socialist into their party name. Due to the contemporary use of this conflation and its political consequences, it warrants investigation. The objective of this paper is to examine the validity of the following assertion by Hermann Goring: Our movement seized the concept of socialism from the cowardly Marxists In other words, it will ascertain the degree to which a connection between Marxist socialism and Nazism can be maintained. In answer to this question there are a number of possible responses. Answers to this question generally fit on a spectrum from a resounding and firm assertion of their correlation to a categorical rejection of any relation. For example, from the right Glenn Beck asserts that Nazism is the direct descendant of Marxism. Conversely, groups like Revolution Socialist Youth and other contemporary neo-Marxist groups utterly deny any similarity. In order to

formulate a coherent answer this paper will make a systematic comparison of a number of theoretical policy items along with examining the Nazi and Marxist worldviews. To develop a comprehensive conclusion it will be appropriate to grapple with a number of primary source documents. To elucidate Marxism this endeavor shall rely upon the following texts: The Communist Manifesto, (Marx and Engels, 1848) Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, (Engels, 1880) Critique of the Gotha Programme, (Marx, 1891) and Conspectus of Bakunins Statism and Anarchy (Marx, 1875.) These documents were chosen because they provide a solid foundation for general Marxist principles and policies. Alternatively, the subsequent texts will be drawn from in order to formulate the Nazi principles and policies: Mein Kampf, (Hitler, 1923) Nationalism and Socialism (Hermann Goring, 1933) Emergency Economic Program of the NSDAP, (Gregor Strasser, 1932) Not Empty Phrases, But Rather Clarity, (Tieler, 1942) the Program of the National Socialist German Workers Party(1920) Communism with the Mask Off, (Joseph Goebells, 1935) The Programme of the Party of Hitler, and its general conceptions, (Feder, 1932) and, less substantially, Mass-Producing Traditional Small Cities: Gottfried Feders Vision for a Greater Nazi Germany (Schenk and Bromley, 2003.) These sources, while not exhaustive, are a strong foundation and representative of the NSDAPs policies and overarching worldview.

Nazism and Marxism both provide a metanarrative for history; a larger picture that explains historical trends. It is prudent to begin with discussing their metanarratives, as much of their other philosophy and policy stems from it. In the meantime, this section is dedicated to elucidating the similarities and differences between their conflict based theories. Nazism is characterized by racial struggle and a more humanist yet predestined notion of agency. In

contrast, Marxism at its surface appears to center around class struggle. However, if one looks deeper it is apparent that the classes are a product of a periods mode of production. This suggests a notion of agency that is deterministic or rather universal in that any people in that material situation would act that way. Hitler succinctly sums up his metanarrative when he declares The world is not intended for cowardly nations (Hitler, Mein Kampf, p 123) More specifically: if a nation succumbs in its struggle for the rights of mankind, then it was probably found weighing too lightly in the scales of destiny to justify its good fortune of being allowed to continue on this mortal globe. (p 123) It should be noted that in Mein Kampf Hitler uses race and nation interchangeably. What this suggests is that the Nazi metanarrative of history centers around race struggle, that is, each race playing out its destiny or the goal of their existence assigned to them by Providence. (p 195) This attitude is reflected in other NSDAP writing and propaganda. In a pamphlet titled Not Empty Phrases, but Rather Clarity the party declared The greatest task of each German, therefor, is to serve this community at all times and in every way, giving his life for its greatness and its eternal life (Walter Tieler) The concept of racial struggle was also repeated in Joseph Goebbels speech (Communism with the Mask Off) in 1935 wherein he stated: National Socialism absolutely places in the foreground of its programme a belief in God and that transcendental idealism which has been destined by Nature to bring to expression the racial soul of a nation. National Socialism would give the lead in a new concept and shaping of European civilization. But the Bolsheviks carry on a campaign, directed by the Jews, with the international underworld, against culture as such.

This clearly demonstrates a worldview that is dominated by racial struggle; where smaller historical events are placed into and understood through the larger story of race conflict. There is a metanarrative of the German Volk, through the NSDAP, fulfilling its destiny. Dichotomously, there is at the same time an undertone in the Nazi worldview emphasizing personal initiative and the need to act. Perhaps one could sum it up dichotomously as we need to make our destiny happen. The corollary of the NSDAP worldview is the merited primacy of the German Volk over other races, in particular the Jews, seen as a force for the destruction of civilization. While this is alluded to in the above portion of Goebbels speech, Hitler states in no uncertain terms The German Reich, as a State, should include all Germans, not only with the task of collecting from the people the most valuable stocks of racially primal elements and preserving them, but also to lead them, gradually and safely, to a dominating position. (Mein Kampf p601) While it is common knowledge that the NSDAP concerned itself intensely with the struggle against the Jews, it is also evident that they saw themselves in conflict with other races. Beyond just conflict, it was a matter of dominating other races. It was a might makes right reductio ad absurdum taken as truth. Marxs dialectical materialism shares little in common with Hitlers race struggle. Marx begins the Communist Manifesto proclaiming The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. He then goes on to lay out a number of historical examples of class struggle and providing an explanation for the creation of the bourgeoisie. At its surface it may seem that Marx is trying to fit historical events into a larger metanarrative of class struggle. There is an underlying philosophy that informs his metanarrative of class struggle, which is alluded to in the Manifesto when Marx and Engels discuss the origins of the

bourgeoisie the modern bourgeoisie is itself the product of a long course of development, of a series of revolutions in the modes of production and of exchange. Marxism sees social structures as being consequences of the means of production. Engels is even more explicit in Socialism: Utopian and Scientific when he bluntly and clearly states: The materialist conception of history starts from the proposition that the production of the means to support human life and, next to production, the exchange of things produced, is the basis of all social structure; that in every society that has appeared in history, the manner in which wealth is distributed and society divided into classes or orders is dependent upon what is produced, how it is produced, and how the products are exchanged. From this point of view, the final causes of all social changes and political revolutions are to be sought, not in men's brains, not in men's better insights into eternal truth and justice, but in changes in the modes of production and exchange. They are to be sought, not in the philosophy, but in the economics of each particular epoch. In terms of an overarching metanarrative this means that economics precedes everything and class struggle is a result from a particular mode of production. History progressing, for Marx, is the contradictions of a mode of production working themselves out; thesis and antithesis. Hence, dialectal materialism. While much of Marxs writing focuses upon his contemporary class struggles, his underlying metanarrative lacks particularity. It presupposes that any people in a particular economic mode of production will structure themselves into a similar social order. In contrast to Hitler wanting to fulfill the destiny of the Germany Volk, Marxism sees history

deterministically. Hitler decries this difference claiming By the categorical rejection of personality and, with it, of the nation and its racial contents, it (Marxism) destroys the elementary foundations of the entire human culture which depends on just these factors. (Mein Kampf 441) While his conclusion is dubious at best, it is true that Marxism, largely speaking, does not take personality into account. Additionally, while Marx certainly advocated for the industrial proletariat in conflict with the bourgeoisie, it was not due to a natural characteristic of the members of that class, rather the proletariat offered a class of people who did not own property and who produced things socially in juxtaposition to the bourgeoisie. Anyone who found themselves in that economic circumstance would develop with the traits of the proletariat. Hitlers theory of race struggle does essentialize each race; positing that each race has an inherent character, some superior to others. As a consequence of their different worldviews both Nazism and Marxism are lead to certain interpretations of nationalism and internationalism. This section will be dedicated to comparing and contrasting their views in this regard. Marxism is unmistakably internationalist; it is so blatant that at the end of the Communist Manifesto they declare The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Working Men of All Countries, Unite! Marxist internationalism is derived fairly directly from Dialectical Materialism. It saw states as being a product of bourgeois invention, an ideology of the ruling class. The bourgeoisie was seen as an international class that oppressed the proletariat internationally, but used nationalism and democracy to coopt power for itself. In this framework proletarians of different countries were seen to have more in common with each other than the bourgeoisie that controlled their economic lives. Additionally it was widely accepted that a Marxist revolution had to be on a large enough scale, beyond just a single nation.

In contrast the NSDAP rejected Marxist internationalism. For example, Herman Goring claimed Nationalism and Socialism stood opposed: the bourgeoisie supported nationalism, the Marxists socialism. The bourgeoisie fell into a barren hyper-patriotism, lost in pacifistic cowardice. On the other side, a Marxist layer of the people, a Marxist class, wanted nothing to do with the Reich or a people. (Hermann Goring, Nationalism and Socialism, 1933) This demonstrates how the NSDAP borrowed different ideas and in this process saw the Marxist internationalism as opposed to the bourgeois nationalism that they wanted to appropriate. They saw Marxist socialism as disinterested with the German race or any race at all and had no intention of adopting this aspect of it. This rejection is similarly reflected in Hitlers Mein Kampf when he recalls I rather liked the activity of Social Democracy. The fact that it finally endeavored to raise the standard of living of the working class But what disgusted me most was its hostile attitude towards the fight for the preservation of the German nationality, its pitiful courtship of the Slav comrades, (p 51) Because of its metanarrative that centered around race struggle and the fulfillment of the German races place in history the NSDAP was firmly nationalist. The Nazi philosophy, chimerical in nature, claimed that it had seized the concept of socialism from the cowardly Marxists. (Hermann Goring, Nationalism and Socialism, 1933) This section is dedicated to examining the commonalities in this regard. Loosely speaking, Socialism for Marx was a period in which the bourgeois-proletariat dialectic was harnessed as a means for shaping society by communists guiding the proletariat. In the Communist Manifesto Marx provides a list of general policies: 1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes. 2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance. 4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels. 5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly. 6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State. 7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan. 8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture. 9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country. 10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of childrens factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production Marxs Critique of the Gotha Programme also offers a number of additional policies. These include that which is intended for the common satisfaction of needs, such as schools, health services, etc. funds for those unable to work, etc., in short, for what is included under socalled official poor relief today the individual producer receives back from society -- after the deductions have been made -- exactly what he gives to it. Essentializing Marxist socialism in this way is problematic. By asserting that socialism is simply a list of economic policies you miss the larger point of socialism. For Marx the democratic nature of the state as


the proletariat organised as the ruling class (Communist Manifesto) is essential. Because the NSDAP phrased their adoption of socialism in this light it will be prudent to address socialism in terms of basic economic policies and return to the question of democracy and end goals later. The NSDAP had a significant number of policies that echoed Marxs general policy. The following is a loose list of official NSDAP economic policies that they might have considered to have been seized from the cowardly Marxists. From the Emergency Economic Program of the NSDAP (Elsewhere, EEP) we glean a support for a workers Right to a job a strong roll of the state in the economy characterized as Economic prosperity will be achieved only through a generous program of job creation, which will also restructure the economy. Only the state is in a position to accomplish such a task. (Sec. B. Method of creating jobs, EEP) Sec. C Land Reclamation of the EEP calls for a number of projects that would increase the amount of land available for cultivation. Under sec H. Administative and tax measures they advocate increased taxes for high income earners. Sec. K Industry directly calls for nationalization of monopolies and supervision of stock companies. Sec. M Social Questions reinforces the right to work, the NSDAPs commitment to social insurance and care of the elderly. Additionally, Sec. M also calls for labor service wherein everyone is obliged at some point in their late youth to take a shovel in hand to serve the nation through his labor. The similarities between Marxs general policies and the NSDAPs are further reinforced when we consider certain points of their 25 point program. More concretely, from this document we can glean the policies of the state shall above all undertake to ensure that every citizen shall have the possibility of living decently and earning a livelihood The first duty of every citizen must be to work mentally or physically. No individual shall do any work


that offends against the interest of the community to the benefit of allthe nationalization of all trusts profit sharing in large industries possible for every capable and industrious German to obtain higher education...The curricula of all educational establishments shall be adapted to practical life providing maternity welfare centers, by prohibiting juvenile labor (Program of the National Socialist German Workers Party) Viewing this list in comparison to the above Marxist list reveals a surprising number of similarities. If one excludes minor Marxist policies regarding inheritance and the nationalization of transportation and communication, which had already taken place in Germany, the Nazis political theory parrots nearly all of the general Marxist policies. While not bearing the same resemblance as their other socialist policies, Lebensraum merits discussion by itself. Lebensraum appears similar to Marxs proposed policy of Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country. Lebensraum is very prevalent in NSDAP policy documents. Settlement of the east in order to redistribute the population and allow for its future growth appears in their 25 point party program, Mien Kampf, the EEP, and a number of speeches. More concretely, the idea also spawned a number of theoretical works regarding its implementation. Gottfried Feder wrote an expansive text proposing the construction of planned cities, 20,000 in population each, across the east. Tilman A. Schenk and Ray Bromley, note how it contains an extraordinary mix of ideas that demonstrate how tightly urban planning and design can be interwoven with the central political, social, and strategic concerns of the era. (MassProducing Traditional Small Cities: Gottfried Feder's Vision for a Greater Nazi Germany) The exact details of the work are not relevant to the purposes of this paper, what is of importance is


the focus on social engineering; the planned redistribution of populations in accordance with the Nazi worldview of race-struggle. While it places a greater emphasis upon rural community and the reproduction of the German race and consequently differs from Marxs notion of redistributing the population in order to diminish the distinction between town and country, there is a resemblance in both ideologies openness toward social engineering and the redistribution of populations. However, it should be pointed out that the intent of both policies was similar, the homogeneity of society. The Nazis on the one hand wanted to exterminate the eastern Slavic population and replace it with what they considered their own superior race. Marxism, similarly, wished to homogenize the population in terms of class distinctions. Despite all of these apparent similarities, there are a number of Nazi policies that conflicted with Marxist socialism. First and foremost the NSDAP defended private property rights. In a document titled The Programme of the Party of Hitler, the NSDAP its General Conceptions the Gottfried Freder states National Socialism recognises private ownership as a principle, and places it under State protection.(p 14) Feder continues, The spirit of the whole Programme proves clearly that Nation Socialism, being a convinced and consistent opponent of Marxism, utterly rejects its ruinous central doctrine of general confiscation, and considers a permanent agricultural class to be the best and surest foundation for national State. (p 14) While this seems to be referring to only the seizure of agricultural property, it is again reinforced when he reaffirms National Socialism recognizes private property as a pri(text missing) And protects it by law. (p 30) This instance however is in conjunction with Feder also claiming The healthy combination of all forms of business, small (and) large, in every domain of economic life, including agriculture shall be encouraged.(p 30) Similarly, when discussing how National Socialism differs from Bolshevism, Joseph Goebbels states


National Socialism sees in all these thingsin property, in personal values and in nation and race and the principles of idealismthese forces which carry on every human civilisation and fundamentally determine its worth. (Communism with the Mask Off, 1935) The rejection of private property is a fundamental element of Marxist socialism. The evidence clearly indicates that the NSDAP supported property rights. In addition to defending property rights, Nazism maintains a very different interpretation of democracy compared to Marxism. Ostensibly, Hitler as the fuhrer would embody the will of the German people, who would affirm his rule with occasional plebiscites. Hitler refers to this as Germanic Democracy which he defines as (Mien Kampf p 117): The free choice of a leader with the latters obligation to take over full all responsibility for what he does or does not do. There will be no voting by a majority on single questions, but only the decision of the individual Hitler, significantly later, when returning to the idea of Germanic democracy states It is one of the primary tasks of the movement to make this the determining principle, not only within its own ranks but also for the entire state. (p 479) This ideology was oft repeated and appears in numerous party publications including a pamphlet titled Not Empty Phrase, but Rather Clarity in which its author, Walter Tieler, appealed If one translates the term democracy literally, it means the rule of the people. That is nowhere in the world so realized as it is in Germany. This was mostly, if not completely, ideology, as Hitler never achieved a democratic majority and used his power to imprison political dissidents. Marx in stark contrast advocated strongly for the extension of democracy. That is, he states in the Communist Manifesto that the first step in the revolution by the working class is


to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class to win the battle of democracy. In other words, workers are supposed to organize politically and use their sheer strength of numbers to get what they want democratically. There is, however, some ambiguity that arises. In the Critique of the Gotha Program Marx asserts the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat. This is ambiguous because he offers little in way of an explanation. If we are to give an optimistic reading of Marx we might read it to mean that the proletariat as a class would seize power and use it in a dictatorial fashion to revolutionize society. For better or worse, Marx remains largely non-prescriptive about what socialist or communist society would look like. This is largely a consequence of his dialectical materialist worldview in which the prevailing philosophy and the organization of society would result from the new mode of production created by the ruling proletariat. Furthermore, there is the Conspectus of Bakunins Statism and Anarchy in which, in reply to Bakunin scoffing at the idea that The Germans number around forty million. Will for example all forty million be member of the government?, Marx notes Certainly! Since the whole thing begins with the self-government of the commune. Similarly Marx conflates the proletariat and the state together when he affirms that The proletariat will use its political supremacy to. Centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the state, i.e, of the proletariat organized as the ruling class (Communist Manifesto) In other words, Marxism is a near absolute affirmation of democracy extended across society. Just like their surface level similarity in regards to democracy, Marxism and Nazism also share a superficially similar view of the future that differs fundamentally at its core. More specifically Nazism saw its actions as laying the foundation for the future of Eternal Germany and Marxism saw the potential revolution as ending history. Both groups saw their


social changes as fundamentally changing the trajectory of history. As mentioned before, Hitler saw the goal of the state was to put the German people in a dominating position. This is exemplified by Today we have the Fhrer as the great model toward whom each individual German peoples comrade can strive and imitate. For eternity, however, the Fhrer gave the German people a worldview able to guide all of its actions. (Not Empty Phrases, but Rather Clarity) They saw themselves as building a racial society that would be eternal in nature. The phrases eternal life and eternal Germany recur frequently. Marxism sees the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Consequently, with the goal of removing class distinctions, there would no longer be classes to struggle against one another. By end of history, Marxism simply wishes to assert that class struggle would no longer define or drive history once classes had been erased. That means that history as we know it would end, predicated upon class struggle, but would continue in some other form. While the two views are similar because both postulate a turning point in history after which history would be fundamentally changed, it is important to note the significant differences. Nazism does not present the same end of history; for Nazism the drive of race struggle would continue to shape events. Additionally, Marxism is marked by a sense of dynamism in contrast to the omnipresence of eternality in Nazism. While it has been briefly touched on, the similarities and dissimilarities between Marxist classlessness and Nazi racial homogenization merit discussion. At their face these two notions appear similar in that they advocate for creating societies of similar individuals. There are, however, a number of key differences. The Nazis clearly and unequivocally state Only a member of the race can be a citizen. A member of the race can only be one who is of German blood, without consideration of creed. (The program of the NSDAP) This ethos is similarly


reflected in their policy regarding the settlement of the east. This policy is exemplified by (Mein Kampf p609): increasing the racially most valuable nucleus of the people and its very fertility, so that finally the entire nationality may share the blessing of a high-bred racial treasure. The way towards this is above all that the State does not leave the settlement of newly won land to chance, but that it subjects it to special norms Thus frontier colonies can gradually be formed whose inhabitant are exclusively bearers of the highest racial purityas in them there lies the germ for the ultimate great future development of their own people, even of mankind. This suggests that Nazism advocates the active homogenization of the population by the state because of the perceived superiority of the German people. Marxism, in contrast, emphasizes the disintegration of classes as a side effect of the proletarian seizure of power, rather than as a direct state policy. This is outline by Marx in the Communist Manifesto: If the proletariat during its contest with the bourgeoisie is compelled, by the force of circumstances, to organise itself as a class, if, by means of a revolution, it makes itself the ruling class, and, as such, sweeps away by force the old conditions of production, then it will, along with these conditions, have swept away the conditions for the existence of class antagonisms and of classes generally, and will thereby have abolished its own supremacy as a class. While this classlessness would also lead to a type of homogenization, it is of a distinctly different character. Principally, it lacks a racial nature. And, the intent is diametrically different; Marx states that In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class


antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all (Communist Manifesto) In other words, the intent is liberation and ending of class oppression. The intent behind the Nazi homogenization of the population was a means to furthering race struggle and assuring the dominating position of the German Volk. Finally, it is prudent to examine antisemitism. The Nazis were brazenly and flagrantly antisemitic. This is reflected in nearly every document produced by the NSDAP, their countless speeches, and the nightmarish policies of the 3rd Reich. It is sufficient to assert that it is self-evident. What is less evident is antisemitisms place in Marxism. To be clear Marx was an anti-Semite, this is clearly evidenced when he wrote Lets us look for the secret of the Jew not in his religion but rather for the secret of the religion in the actual Jew. What is the secular basis for Judaism? Practical need, self-interest. What is the worldly cult of the Jew? Bargaining. What is his worldly god? Money. Very well! Emancipation from bargaining and money, and thus from practical and real Judaism would be the self-emancipation of our era. (On the Jewish Question, p 243) It should be noted that in the same text Marx claims The social emancipation of the Jew is the emancipation of society from Judaism. (p 248) This suggests that Marx did not advocate for their murder but a type of assimilation into society. Additionally, one ought to consider that (Maxist View of Race and Culture,p 117): Nineteenth-century genetics was predominantly "Lamarckian," that is, based on the assumption that organisms actively adapt to their environments by acquiring characteristics (both physical and behavioral) that over a period of time become inherited Given the assumption that acquired characters are heritable, it follows that poor environments, whether natural or cultural, are almost inexorably bound to be


reflected biologically. "Backward peoples, whatever the original reason for their failure to develop, must after centuries of living in deprived environments become biologically degenerate. Many worldviews were affected by the science of the time. British liberalism contemporary with Marx mandated a number of policies in India that were based upon similar Lamarckian ideas.(An Appeal to the Brahmins and Rajputs of Aauadh) However, that does not mean that the Lamarckian conception of evolution nor notions of Punjabi or Rajput martial prowess are inherent to Liberalism. Consequently, I submit that there ought to be made a distinction between the thoughts of Marx and Marxism. In other words, a distinction between views that Marx held, particulars of an individual and a time, and that which is essential to the worldview. This point is reiterated by Jack Jacobs when he states there was a rainbow of perspectives within the socialist world on the Jewish question (as there was on virtually every other question of theory and practice). Socialists were neither naturally inclined toward antiSemitism, nor immune from anti-Semitic sentiments (On Socialists and The Jewish Question After Marx, p 3) While this refers to the broader idea of socialism than the particular of Marxism, the point is hammered home by Engels, the co-author of the Communist Manifesto, when he declared anti-Semitism betokens a retarded culture, which is why it is found only in Prussia and Austria, and in Russia too we are far too deeply indebted to the Jews Many of our best people are Jews. (On Anti-Semitism) We must conclude that, though Marx was antisemitic, antisemitism was not inherent to Marxism. Bearing this in mind, it is significant to note that Hitler and the Nazis often conflated Marxism with the Jews. Hitler asserts I took all the Social Democratic pamphlets I could get hold of and traced the names of their authors: they all were Jews. (Mein Kampf, p 80) and


continues later While thoroughly studying the Marxist doctrines and by looking at the Jewish peoples activity with calm clarity, Destiny itself gave me the answer. The Jewish doctrine of Marxism rejects the aristocratic principle in nature (Mein Kampf, p 83) This combination of Marxism with the Jews suggests a degree of distancing from Marxism by the Nazis. In return to the starting question: examining the validity of Hermann Gorings assertion that Nazism seized the concept of socialism from the cowardly Marxists significant amounts of evidence has been presented. The conclusion that we may draw does not fit neatly on either end of the spectrum. Nazism was not the direct descendant of Marxism. Conversely, neither does it lack any similarity. The answer must be nuanced and particular. In regards to worldview, and specifically the differences between race struggle and class struggle that is resultant from the mode of production, the two are very dissimilar. Furthermore, the two differ in terms of the key issues of private property, the role and affirmation of democracy, and internationalism. In contrast it is also evident that Nazism has a number of particular policies in common with Marxism. Bearing in mind that Marx sees socialism as a transitional stage between capitalism and communism it is not clear that the Nazis seized socialism from. Though, it can be said that they certainly latched onto something from Marxism.


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