Nazism in Germany Today
Although there are neo-Nazi movements throughout the world today, the phenomenon would appear to be of greatest concern in the former East Germany. Almost as soon as Germany was re-unified we found there that apparently large numbers of young racist thugs were actively attacking immigrants in the name of “Germany for the Germans” and the Swastika became once more an insignia of terror for minorities. Yet were not these same young East Germans the product of a diligent Communist education? Surely they should have been the least likely to become Fascists? Why have they in fact become Hitler’s most obvious heirs?
The facts pointed out in this paper make the phenomenon no mystery at all, however. A Communist education is an extreme socialist education and Nazism was extreme socialism too. All you need to do is to add the nationalist element and you have Nazism. And nationalist feeling seems to be virtually innate anyway so, rather than actively “add” it, all you have to do is permit it — and modern Germany is a very permissive state.
In fact, even the old East German State was quite nationalist. In its always precarious struggle for legitimacy, it did much to present itself as the spiritual heir of old Prussia (which it largely was in a territorial sense). So socialist East Germany was also nationalist, though not aggressively so. It was low-key Nazi! So it turns out that the deeds of the young East German thugs we are considering are indeed traceable to their education. German National Socialism has the same outcome in the 1980s and 90s as in did in the 30s and 40s.
Even before the collapse of Communism, however, Fascism still existed in Germany — in the form of the Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands (NPD). In Germany, the NPD (National Democratic Party) is widely regarded as the barely-legal successor-party to Hitler’s National Socialist party. A recent interview with the chairman of that party is therefore instructive. A few excerpts follow:
“This [young Leftist] subculture possesses an anti-capitalist view of the world, and views the NPD as an instrument of Capitalism. Such a view of the NPD is fundamentally wrong, and disregards the fact that the Movement will eliminate Capitalism which is so contemptuous of humanity….
The NPD is a Movement of the People which will implement its programme of building a Third Power beyond Capitalism and Communism, thereby giving self-determination to the people.
At the centre of our struggle is mankind and Nature. Thanks to our life-giving view of the world, we stand against foreign rule and domination, against foreign penetration, exploitation and oppression. We stand for German freedom, for the freedom of peoples, for a New Social Order in both Germany and Europe.
During this phase, we must use capable intellectuals from all levels in society so as to build our ideology of a New Order beyond Capitalism and Communism…. The global threat to our nations by multi-national banks and companies working in harness with the ruling class is having a destructive effect on our peoples.
The outstanding achievements of the German social system are being more and more replaced by minimal standards.”
Note the five leftist elements of NPD thinking mentioned above. He rejects the Leftist claim that the NPD is capitalist and says it is anti-capitalist . He says the NPD will build a “Third Power” (Third Way) between capitalism and Communism. He puts “nature” (environmentalism ) at the centre of his thinking. He is against “multinational banks and companies” (globalization). And he regards the German social system (welfare state) as an outstanding achievement. Clearly, this party does indeed reflect all of Hitler’s themes and clearly it is of the Left in modern terms. And its championship of a “Third Way” makes it in fact a completely modern Leftist party, akin in that respect to the present-day British Labour party. Hitler was a modern Leftist by the standards of his day too, as his championship of eugenics showed. Awkward stuff, that history. So the NPD shows that the nationalist version of Leftism still lives.
Russia in the immediate post-Soviet era was kept on a largely democratic course by the erratic ex-Soviet apparatchik Boris Yeltsin, and now seems to be in cautious hands under President Putin but what can we expect of the future? Before the ascension of Putin, there was a powerful Fascist movement under the principal influence of Zhirinovsky and a powerful Communist bloc under Zyuganov but Putin would now seem to have subsumed both. And nationalism generally seems to be as popular as ever in Russia. Will a socialist background combined with strong nationalist traditions again produce a Nazi-type regime if economic conditions deteriorate from their already backward level? Will there be a Russian Hitler? Is Putin a Russian Mussolini? Russia’s nationalist traditions were, as we have seen, encouraged to a degree even under Communism (by Stalin and his successors) so it seems not unlikely. It just needs nationalism to become an ideological focus in lieu of socialism, and we will have Communism reborn as Fascism. And since socialism as an ideological focus does seem to be in extremis in the post-Soviet world, we might well expect a people accustomed to a strong ideological focus in their politics to be looking for a replacement focus. Only a small step would be required to make the transition to Fascism and Putin’s grip on power (including reasserted control of Russia’s major industries) suggests that a hopefully moderate form of Fascism is in fact already with us in Russia. Like Hitler and Mussolini, Putin is popular for being seen as having “restored order”. His quite remarkable popularity in Russia by the year 2007 is in fact a strong reminder that, unlike Communism, Fascism is a POPULAR form of Leftism.
And just as Hitler could harp on the past glories of the zweite Reich (the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation) and refuse to accept the internal collapse of the Kaiserreich (the German empire of World War I) so Putin could stress the scientific glories and territorial reach of the former Soviet empire and refuse to accept that its collapse was due to internal causes. There is little doubt that a Russian Goebbels could find a workable basis for overweening Russian national pride and that such pride could be used as an antidote to present woes — just as similar pride was once used in Weimar Germany.
Because this series contradicts what most people think they know about Hitler, it has necessarily been a long one. There have been many potential questions to answer. I would therefore like to close with a useful brief summary of what happened and why it is so little known. It is excerpted from a comment by Peter Hitchens on what is being taught in British schools and purveyed by the British media today:
“A schools video produced last year on the Forties barely gives a walk-on part to Winston Churchill, a man who is being steadily written out of modern history because he does not fit the fashionable myth that the Tories sympathised with the Nazis and the Left were the only people who opposed Hitler….
LABOUR’S role in the rise of Hitler was to consistently vote against the rearmament measures which narrowly saved this country from slavery in 1940. Stalin’s insane orders to the German Communist Party, to refuse to co-operate with the Social Democrats, virtually ensured the Nazis would come to power in 1933.
This would be mirrored, six years later, in the joint victory parade staged by Nazi and Red Army troops in the then-Polish city of Brest, and the efficient supply of Soviet oil to Germany which fuelled the Nazi Blitzkrieg and the bombers which tore the heart out of London.
But millions of supposedly educated people know nothing of this, and are unaware that the one country which behaved with honour and courage when the fate of the world was being decided was Britain.”
It was the Left who were on Hitler’s side, not the conservatives. And the Left were on his side because he was one of them.