National Socialism, commonly referred to as Nazism, was the ideology and practice of the National Socialist German Workers Party through which Adolf Hitler rose to power in the era of Nazi Germany. It is a specific form of fascism which expressly promotes racism and antisemitism as policies.
- The Nazi State is not a "bourgeois" but a "Socialist" State, on the strength of which it can afford to prevent workers from defending their own interests.
- Aurel Kolnai, The War Against the West (1938) London, UK, p. 325.
- By exploiting material wealth confiscated and plundered in a racial war, Hitler’s National Socialism achieved an unprecedented level of economic equality and created vast new opportunities for upward mobility for the German people.
- Götz Aly, Hitler’s Beneficiaries: Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State, New York: NY, Metropolitan Books (2007) pp. 7-8
- Another source of the Nazi Party’s popularity was its liberal borrowing from the intellectual tradition of the socialist left. Many of the men who would become the movement’s leaders had been involved in communist and socialist circles.
- Götz Aly, Hitler’s Beneficiaries: Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State, New York: Metropolitan Books (2007) p. 16
- In one of his central pronouncements, Hitler promised 'the creation of a socially just state,' a model society that would 'continue to eradicate all [social] barriers.'
- Götz Aly, Hitler’s Beneficiaries: Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State, New York: NY, Metropolitan Books (2007) p. 13. Hitler’s speech to workers at the Berlin’s Rheinmetall-Borsig factory (Oct. 10, 1940)
- Nazism, for all its revolutionary jargon, represented in its essence a reaction against the nine-teenth-century faith in human progress. It was an attempt to seize history by the collar and frog-march it in a direction determined primaly by the selfish interests and obsessive beliefs of those in power. From the outset it wan an anti-intellectual movement, offering its adherents the spurious solidarity of the street gang and the prospecive enjoyment of stolen booty.
- The Nazis despised Christianity for its Judaic roots, effeminacy, otherworldliness and universality... One would have to visit the Reformation or the extremes of liberal anti-clericalism in the modern era to find anything analogous to their vicious and vulgar attacks on priests.
- Michael Burleigh, The Third Reich: A New History, New York: NY, Hill and Wang (2000) p. 255
One fine day the bourgeoisie is awakened by a terrific reverse shock: the gestapos are busy, the prisons fill up, the torturers around the racks invent, refine, discuss.
People are surprised, they become indignant. They say: “How strange! But never mind — it’s Nazism, it will pass!” And they wait, and they hope; and they hide the truth from themselves, that it is barbarism, but the supreme barbarism, the crowning barbarism that sums up all the daily barbarisms; that it is Nazism, yes, but that before they were its victims, they were its accomplices; that they tolerated that Nazism before it was inflicted on them, that they absolved it, shut their eyes to it, legitimized it, because, until then, it had been applied only to non-European peoples; that they have cultivated that Nazism, that they are responsible for it.
- Aimé Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism (1955), p. 36
- The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist.
- We are confronted with another theme. It is not a new theme; it leaps out upon us from the Dark Ages – racial persecution, religious intolerance, deprivation of free speech, the conception of the citizen as a mere soulless fraction of the State. To this has been added the cult of war. Children are to be taught in their earliest schooling the delights and profits of conquest and aggression. A whole mighty community has been drawn painfully, by severe privations, into a warlike frame. They are held in this condition, which they relish no more than we do, by a party organisation, several millions strong, who derive all kinds of profits, good and bad, from the upkeep of the regime. Like the Communists, the Nazis tolerate no opinion but their own. Like the Communists, they feed on hatred. Like the Communists, they must seek, from time to time, and always at shorter intervals, a new target, a new prize, a new victim. The Dictator, in all his pride, is held in the grip of his Party machine. He can go forward; he cannot go back. He must blood his hounds and show them sport, or else, like Actaeon of old, be devoured by them. All-strong without, he is all-weak within. As Byron wrote a hundred years ago: “These Pagod things of Sabre sway, with fronts of brass and feet of clay.”
- Nazi leaders were noted for love of their pets and for certain animals, notably apex predators like the wolf and the lion. Hitler, a vegetarian and hater of hunting, adored dogs and spent some of his final hours in the company of Blondi, whom he would take for walks outside the bunker at some danger to himself. He had a particular enthusiasm for birds and most of all for wolves. [...] Goebbels said, famously, ‘The only real friend one has in the end is the dog. . . The more I get to know the human species, the more I care for my Benno.’ Goebbels also agreed with Hitler that ‘meat eating is a perversion in our human nature,’ and that Christianity was a ‘symptom of decay’, since it did not urge vegetarianism. [...] On the one hand, monsters of cruelty towards their fellow humans; on the other, kind to animals and zealous in their interest. In their very fine essay on such contradictions, Arnold Arluke and Boria Sax offer three observations. One, as just noted, many Nazi leaders harboured affection towards animals but antipathy to humans. Hitler was given films by a maharaja which displayed animals killing people. The Führer watched with equanimity. Another film showed humans killing animals. Hitler covered his eyes and begged to be told when the slaughter was over.
- Alexander Cockburn "Vegetarians, Nazis for Animal Rights, Blitzkrieg of the Ungulates". CounterPunch. (August 18, 2005). Retrieved April 6, 2013.
- Fascism was the shadow or ugly child of communism… As Fascism sprang from Communism, so Nazism developed from Fascism. Thus were set on foot those kindred movements which were destined soon to plunge the world into more hideous strife, which none can say has ended with their destruction.
- Winston Churchill, The Second World War, Volume 1, The Gathering Storm, Mariner Books, 1985, pp. 13-14. First published in 1948
- America had a fling at National Socialism. Roosevelt was for all administration purposes a dictator, but a benevolent one, and the country loved it.
- Alistair Cooke, "Alistair Cooke's America", New York: NY, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. (1973) p. 329.
- As for the explanation that fascism is a last desperate attempt of capitalism to delay the socialist revolution, it simply is not true. It is not true that ‘big business’ promoted fascism. On the contrary, both in Italy and in Germany the proportion of fascist sympathizers and backers was smallest in the industrial and financial classes. It is equally untrue that ‘big business’ profits from fascism; of all the classes it probably suffers most from totalitarian economics and Wehrwirtschaft.
- Peter Drucker, The End of Economic Man, The John Day Company, The End of Economic Man (1939) p. 7
- [T]he enemy of totalitarian Nazism is not in the East. It is not Russian communism. The complete collapse of the belief in the attainability of freedom and equality through Marxist socialism has forced Russia to travel the same road toward a totalitarian, purely negative, noneconomic society of unfreedom and inequality which Germany has been following… During the last few years Russia has therefore been forced to adopt one purely totalitarian and fascist principle after the other; not, it must be emphasized, because of a ‘Stalinist conspiracy,” but because there was no other possibility.
- Peter Drucker, The End of Economic Man, The John Day Company, The End of Economic Man (1939) pp. 245-246
- Fascism is the stage reached after communism has proved an illusion. And it has been proven as much of an illusion in Stalinist Russia as it proven an illusion in pre-Hitler Germany. Communism in anything but name was abandoned in Russia when the Five-Year Plan was substituted for the New Economic Policy (NEP) after Lenin’s death.
- Peter Drucker, The End of Economic Man, The John Day Company, The End of Economic Man (1939) p. 246
- The discource of Nazism was vital force, power was its only end, and violence it only means. By camouflaging its means by its end through the use of Leninist language, it betrayed its origins, like vice paying hidden homage to virtue, as it continued to declare that recociliation of humanity was its goal. .... To a society justifiably terrified by the threat of Communism, the Nazis offered protection and renewal, at the price of the same means used by Communism but in an ideological version that radically suppressed any idea of morality. ... Nazism was a German form of Bolshevism turned against its initial form. ... It was in Nazi Germany that Bolshevism was perfected; there, political power truly absorbed all spheres of existence, from the economy to religion, from technology to the soul. The irony, the tragedy, of history was that both totalitarian regimes, identical in their aim for absolute power over dehumanized beings, presented themselves as protection from the danger presented by the other.
- François Furet, The Passing of an Illusion, The Idea of Communism in the Twentieth Century, University of Chicago Press (1999) pp. 205-07
- There are some good reasons why National Socialism belongs to the left rather than the right politically. In any case, [Hitler] had more in common with Stalin's totalitarianism than with Mussolini's fascism. In Italy in the twenties and thirties there were still the traditional class differences, while Hitler, unlike the socialists of all shades, promoted social equality. After the so-called seizure of power, contrary to what some members of the upper classes hoped, he did not restore the privileges lost in 1918. Instead, he simply replaced Marx's term of classless society with the vocabulary of the ‘people's community’ and sold the still terrifyingly socialist-sounding term as a kind of permanent fraternity celebration.
- Fascism, Nazism and Stalinism have in common that they offered the atomized individual a new refuge and security. These systems are the culmination of alienation.
- Erich Fromm, in The Sane Society (1955), p. 237
- After the war, the army sent [Hitler] to investigate political movements in Munich. In the insignificant German Workers' Party he discovered the opportunity and latent talents that brought him success. He left the army, joined the party, and rapidly became its most skilled speaker and propagandist. Under the name National Socialist German Workers' Party, [NSDAP or Nazis], it held its first large public meeting in 1920, when Hitler denounced democracy, capitalism, and the Jews. The next year, facing a split within the party, he resigned and only returned when he was given complete control. He established the 'Fuhrer Principle' of unquestioning obedience that marked the rest of his career. As his following grew, he attempted to seize power in Bavaria in 1923. He failed and went to prison. There he wrote the autobiographical Mein Kampf [My Struggle] that blamed all the ills of society on the Jews and laid out plans for a future totalitarian state. After his release, he re-established his control of the NSDAP but made little progress until he redirected it away from the generally socialist workers to small towns and the lower middle class. His stress on traditional German values and denunciation of the Jews and Communists brought him increasing support, especially as the Depression struck Germany. The Nazis seemed the only party willing to take drastic action to save the economy. Hitler worked incessantly, giving vague but powerful speeches that played on the emotions of his audience. He also built practical support in the storm of Storm Troopers, thugs in brown shirts who spread party propaganda and disrupted meetings of its opponents. By 1933 the Nazis were the largest party in Germany.
- Clive Foss, The Tyrants: 2500 Years of Absolute Power and Corruption, London: Quercus Publishing, 2006, ISBN 1905204965, pp. 140-141
- [Nazi] Germany is showing to the world how efficiently violence can be worked when it is not hampered by any hypocrisy or weakness masquerading as humanitarianism. It is also showing how hideous, terrible and terrifying it looks in its nakedness.
- Mahatma Gandhi in Zionism and Anti-Semitism (November 1938), as quoted in The Gandhi Reader: A Sourcebook of His Life and Writings, p. 319
- According to the idea of the NSDAP [Nazi party], we are the German left. Nothing is more hateful to us than the right-wing national ownership block.”
- Joseph Goebbels Der Angriff (The Attack), (6 December 1931), quoted in Wolfgang Venohr’s book: Documents of German existence: 500 years of German national history 1445-1945, Athenäum Verlag, 1980, p. 291, In German: „Der Idee der NSDAP entsprechend sind wir die deutsche Linke. Nichts ist uns verhaßter als der rechtsstehende nationale Besitzbürgerblock
- In light of these findings, we immediately reversed the decision to separate with the employee and are in communication with his representative. To the employee we wish to say publicly: we sincerely apologize
- GitHub coo Erica Brescia in a blog post according to GitHub HR boss resigns over firing of Jewish staffer who warned of Nazis in DC January 18, 2021
- We are against the political bourgeoisie, and for genuine nationalism! We are against Marxism, but for true socialism! We are for the first German national state of a socialist nature! We are for the National Socialist German Workers’ Party!
- Lenin was the greatest man, second only to Hitler, and that the difference between communism and the Hitler faith was very slight.
- Joseph Goebbels, as quoted in The New York Times, “HITLERITE RIOT IN BERLIN: Beer Glasses Fly When Speaker Compares Hitler and Lenin,” (Nov. 28, 1925) p. 4.
- We and we alone [the Nazis] have the best social welfare measures. Everything is done for the nation. . . .The Jews are the incarnation of capitalism.
- When [Hitler] talked of National-Socialism what he really meant was military-Socialism, Socialism within a framework of military discipline or, in civilian terms, police-Socialism.
- Ernst Hanfstaengl, Hitler: The Memoir of a Nazi Insider Who Turned Against the Führer, New York: NY, Arcade Publishing, 2011, pp. 70-71
- De Rougemont began by thinking that Hitler’s state was a regime of the right. But during a lengthy stay in Frankfurt as a visiting professor, he found himself involuntarily questioning this. “What unsettled him,” writes Boyd, “was the fact that those who stood most naturally on the right—lawyers, doctors, industrialists and so on—were the very ones who most bitterly denounced National Socialism. Far from being a bulwark against Communism, they complained, it was itself communism in disguise”
- National Socialism was egalitarian and horribly modern.
- Socialism is the science of dealing with the common weal. Communism is not Socialism. Marxism is not Socialism. The Marxians have stolen the term and confused its meaning. I shall take Socialism away from the Socialists. Socialism is an ancient Aryan, Germanic institution. Our German ancestors held certain lands in common. They cultivated the idea of the common weal. Marxism has no right to disguise itself as socialism. Socialism, unlike Marxism, does not repudiate private property. Unlike Marxism, it involves no negation of personality, and unlike Marxism, it is patriotic. We might have called ourselves the Liberal Party. We chose to call ourselves the National Socialists. We are not internationalists. Our socialism is national. We demand the fulfilment of the just claims of the productive classes by the state on the basis of race solidarity. To us state and race are one.
- The National Socialist State recognizes no ‘classes’. But, under the political aspect, it recognizes only citizens with absolutely equal rights and equal obligations corresponding thereto.
- Adolf Hitler, "Mein Kampf", Volume Two: The National Socialist Movement, chapter 12 (1926).
- We National Socialists see in private property a higher level of human economic development that according to the differences in performance controls the management of what has been accomplished enabling and guaranteeing the advantage of a higher standard of living for everyone. Bolshevism destroys not only private property but also private initiative and the readiness to shoulder responsibility.
- Adolf Hitler, speech made at the Reichstag (21 May 1935) Found in Translation of Herr Hitler's Speech to the German Reichstag on May 21, 1935 Foreign Office Press. German version
- Germany's economic policy is conducted exclusively in accordance with the interests of the German people. In this respect I am a fanatical socialist, one who has ever in mind the interests of all his people.
- The consequences of the activity of this regime were nothing but chaos, misery and starvation in all countries. I, on the other hand, have been striving for twenty years with a minimum of intervention and without destroying our production, to arrive at a new Socialist order in Germany which not only eliminates unemployment but also permits the worker to receive an ever greater share of the fruits of his labor.
- All the more so after the war, the German National Socialist state, which pursued this goal from the beginning, will tirelessly work for the realization of a program that will ultimately lead to a complete elimination of class differences and to the creation of a true socialist community.
- The greatest revolution which National Socialism has brought about is that it has rent asunder the veil which hid from us the knowledge that all human failures and mistakes are due to the conditions of the time and therefore can be remedied, but that there is one error which cannot be remedied once men have made it, namely the failure to recognize the importance of conserving the blood and the race free from intermixture and thereby the racial aspect and character which are God's gift and God's handiwork. It is not for men to discuss the question of why Providence created different races, but rather to recognize the fact that it punishes those who disregard its work of creation.
- Adolf Hitler, speech before the Reichstag (30 January 1937).
- National Socialism is not a cult-movement—a movement for worship; it is exclusively a 'volkic' political doctrine based upon racial principles. In its purpose there is no mystic cult, only the care and leadership of a people defined by a common blood-relationship. Therefore we have no rooms for worship, but only halls for the people — no open spaces for worship, but spaces for assemblies and parades. We have no religious retreats, but arenas for sports and playing-fields, and the characteristic feature of our places of assembly is not the mystical gloom of a cathedral, but the brightness and light of a room or hall which combines beauty with fitness for its purpose.
- Adolf Hitler, speech in Nuremberg (6 September 1938).
- Had Hitler died in middle of the 1930's, Nazism would probably have shown, under the leadership of a Goering, a fundamental change in its course, and the Second World War might have been averted. Yet the sepulcher of Hitler, the founder of a Nazi religion, might perhaps have been a greater evil than all the atrocities, bloodshed and destruction of Hitler's war.
- Eric Hoffer, The True Believer (1951) Ch.18 Good and Bad Mass Movements, §122
- Socialism as the final concept of duty, the ethical duty of work, not just for oneself but also for one’s fellow man’s sake, and above all the principle: Common good before own good, a struggle against all parasitism and especially against easy and unearned income. And we were aware that in this fight we can rely on no one but our own people. We are convinced that socialism in the right sense will only be possible in nations and races that are Aryan, and there in the first place we hope for our own people and are convinced that socialism is inseparable from nationalism.
- Adolf Hitler "Why We Are Anti-Semites," August 15, 1920 speech in Munich at the Hofbräuhaus. Hitler gave this speech a number of times in August of 1920 to members of the National Socialist German Workers Party. Translated from Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte, 16. Jahrg., 4. H. (Oct., 1968), pp. 390-420. Edited by Carolyn Yeager. 
- After all, that’s exactly why we call ourselves National Socialists! We want to start by implementing socialism in our nation among our Volk! It is not until the individual nations are socialist that they can address themselves to international socialism.
- We are socialists, we are enemies of today's capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are determined to destroy this system under all conditions.
- Adolf Hitler as quoted in Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography, John Toland, New York: NY, Anchor Books, 1992, p. 224. Quote is from a speech at the Clou restaurant center on May 1, 1927. Hitler is paraphrasing Gregor Strasser’s one-page Nazi talking points memo from June 15, 1926.
- For we [National Socialists] too are considered ‘upstarts’ and ‘leftists’ by those same reactionaries. They are only too eager to apply such terms as ‘enemies of the fatherland,’ ‘Bolsheviks,’ and ‘inferiors.’”
- Since we are socialists, we must necessarily also be antisemites because we want to fight against the very opposite: materialism and mammonism… How can you not be an antisemite, being a socialist!
- This German Volksgemeinschaft is truly practical socialism and therefore National Socialism in the best sense of the word. Here everyone is obligated to carry his load.
- Adolf Hitler, as quoted in Stagnation and Renewal in Social Policy: The Rise and Fall of Policy Regimes, editors: Martin Rein, Gøsta Esping-Andersen, and Lee Rainwater (1987) p. 63.
- The craziest of all political systems, the unique dictatorship, found its earned end. History will note for eternity that the German people were not able on their own initiative to shake off the yoke of the National Socialists. The victory of the Americans, English and Russians was a necessary occurrence to disrupt the National Socialists' delusions and plans for world domination.
- Most of the American laws defining race are not to be compared with those once enforced by Nazi Germany, the latter being relatively more liberal. In the view of the Nazis, persons having less than one fourth Jewish blood could qualify as Aryans, whereas many of the American laws specify that persons having one-eighth, one-sixteenth, or 'any ascertainable' Negro blood are Negroes in the eyes of the law and subject to all restrictions governing the conduct of Negroes.
- Stetson Kennedy, Jim Crow Guide: The Way it Was (1955), Ch.4, "Who is Colored Where".
- National Socialism is at bottom incomparably more anti-Western than Bolshevism.
- Much of the pot-pourri of ideas that went to make up Nazi ideology – an amalgam of prejudices, phobias, and utopian social expectations rather than a coherent set of intellectual propositions – was to be found in different forms and intensities before the First World War,…
- Ian Kershaw, Hitler 1889- 1936: Hubris, New York and London, W.W. Norton & Company (1999) p. 134
- Intensified anti-capitalist rhetoric, which Hitler was powerless to quell, worried the business community as much as ever. During the presidential campaign of spring 1932, most business leaders stayed firmly behind Hindenburg, and did not favour Hitler.
- Ian Kershaw, Hitler 1889- 1936: Hubris, New York and London, W.W. Norton & Company (1999) p. 359
- For Catholics--the other sub-culture which Nazism found greatest difficulty in penetrating, before and after 1933—Hitler was above all seen as the head of a 'godless', anti-Christian movement... On the nationalist-conservative Right, the relatively sympathetic treatment of Hitler at the time of the Young Plan Campaign [1929-30] had given way to hostility. Hitler was portrayed for the most part as intransigent and irresponsible, a wild and vulgar demagogue, not a statesman, an obstacle to political recovery, the head of an extremist movement with menacing socialistic tendencies.
- Ian Kershaw, Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris, W.W. Norton & Company (1999) p. 412.
- The National Socialist state will guarantee that every one of our people finds work.”
- As quoted by Bernhard Köhler, head of the Nazi Party Commission for Economic Policy, in Nazi Economics: Ideology, Theory, and Policy, Avraham Barkai, Yale University Press, 1990, p. 169. Source: Bernhard Köhler, Unser Wille and Weg 2, 1932, p. 132
- For the German people the battle for work is the turning point from capitalism to socialism because its intention is to provide every member of the nation once again with a job…. When he [Adolf Hitler] said ‘We will liquidate unemployment by our own strength,’ capitalism received its death blow.”
- As quoted by Bernhard Köhler, Nazi Economics: Ideology, Theory, and Policy, Avraham Barkai, Yale University Press, 1990, p. 169, A. Holtz, “Sozialistische Wirtschaft,” Der Aufbau 4, no. 17, 1936, pp. 6-7
- Nazi ideology cannot be summarized in a program of platform. It can be better understood as a maelstrom of prejudices, passions, hatreds, emotions, resentments, biases, hopes, and attitudes that, when combined, most often resembled a religious crusade wearing the mask of a political ideology.
- I would say, on the basis of having observe a thousand people in the experiment and having my own intuition shaped and informed by these experiments, that if a system of death camps were set up in the United States of the sort we had seen in Nazi Germany, one would find sufficient personnel for those camps in any medium-sized American town.
- Stanley Milgram, Interview on Sixty Minutes (31 March 1979)
- The ‘totalitarian’ label is part of ideological warfare in another way as well – in so far as it covers both Communist and Fascist regimes, and is thereby intended to suggest that they are very similar systems. More specifically, the suggestion is that Communism and Nazism are more or less identical. This may be good propaganda but it is very poor political analysis. There were similarities between Stalinism and Nazism in the use of mass terror and mass murder. But there were also enormous differences between them. Stalinism was a ‘revolution from above’, which was intended to modernise Russia from top to bottom, on the basis of the state ownership of the means of production (most of those ‘means of production’ being themselves produced as part of the ‘revolution from above’); and Russia was indeed transformed, at immense cost. Nazism, on the other hand, was, for all its transformative rhetoric, a counter-revolutionary movement and regime, which consolidated capitalist ownership and the economic and social structures which Hitler had inherited from Weimar. As has often been observed, twelve years of absolute Nazi rule did not fundamentally change, and never sought to change fundamentally, the social system which had existed when Hitler came to power. To assimilate Nazism and Stalinism, and equate them as similarly ‘totalitarian’ movements and regimes of the extreme right and the extreme left is to render impossible a proper understanding of their nature, content and purpose.
- If you love our country you are national, and if you love our people you are a socialist."
- Historians have a word for Germans who joined the Nazi party, not because they hated Jews, but out of a hope for restored patriotism, or a sense of economic anxiety, or a hope to preserve their religious values, or dislike of their opponents, or raw political opportunism, or convenience, or ignorance, or greed.
That word is "Nazi." Nobody cares about their motives anymore.
They joined what they joined. They lent their support and their moral approval. And, in so doing, they bound themselves to everything that came after. Who cares any more what particular knot they used in the binding?
- Thirty centuries of history allow us to look with supreme pity on certain doctrines which are preached beyond the Alps by the descendants of those who were illiterate when Rome had Caesar, Virgil and Augustus.
- Benito Mussolini's early opinion of Nazism, as quoted in Hitler's Ten-year War on the Jews (1946), by Institute of Jewish Affairs
- Only members of the nation may be citizens of the state. Only those of pure White blood... may be members of the nation.
- The common good before the individual good. (Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz)
- The Nazi 25-point Program, Adolf Hitler proclaimed his party's program on February 24, 1920 in Munich, Germany. Nazi Ideology Before 1933: A Documentation, Barbara Miller Lane, Leila J. Rupp, introduction and translation, Manchester University Press (1978) p. 43.
- Konrad Heiden translated this line as “The good of the state before the good of the individual” in his A History of National Socialism, (1935) p. 17.
- No Jew or homosexual may be a member of the nation.
- When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
- Fascism, at any rate the German version, is a form of capitalism that borrows from Socialism just such features as will make it efficient for war purposes. Internally, Germany has a good deal in common with a Socialist state. Ownership has never been abolished, there are still capitalists and workers, and—this is the important point, and the real reason why rich men all over the world tend to sympathise with Fascism—generally speaking the same people are capitalists and the same people workers as before the Nazi revolution. But at the same time the State, which is simply the Nazi Party, is in control of everything. It controls investment, raw materials, rates of interest, working hours, wages. The factory owner still owns his factory, but he is for practical purposes reduced to the status of a manager. Everyone is in effect a State employee, though the salaries vary very greatly. The mere efficiency of such a system, the elimination of waste and obstruction, is obvious. In seven years it has built up the most powerful war machine the world has ever seen.
- George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn (1941)
- National Socialism is a form of Socialism, is emphatically revolutionary, does crush the property owner as surely as it crushes the worker. The two regimes, having started from opposite ends, are rapidly evolving towards the same system—a form of oligarchical collectivism. . . . It is Germany that is moving towards Russia, rather than the other way about. It is therefore nonsense to talk about Germany ‘going Bolshevik’ if Hitler falls. Germany is going Bolshevik because of Hitler and not in spite of him.
- George Orwell,Orwell: My Country Left or Right 1940 to 1943, Vol. 2, Essays, Journalism & Letters, Sonia Orwell and Ian Angus, edit., Boston, MA, Nonpareil Books (2000), p. 25, originally from “Review of The Totalitarian Enemy by F. Borkenau,” Time and Tide (4 May 1940)
- In the long run the [Nazi] movement was moving to a position in which the economic New Order would be controlled by the Party through a bureaucratic apparatus staffed by technical experts and dominated by political interests, not unlike the system that had already been built up in the Soviet Union.
- Richard Overy, War and Economy in the Third Reich, Oxford: UK, Oxford University Press, 1994, p. 118
- In fact, all over Germany the [Nazi] party seemed to pour propagandistic venom on the capitalists and decadent bourgeoisie.
- Dietrich Orlow, The Nazi Party 1919-1945: A Complete History, Enigma Books (2010) p. 61, referring to the 1926-1927 time period
- During the Third Reich state ownership expanded into the productive sectors, based on the strategic industries, aviation, aluminium, synthetic oil and rubber, chemicals, iron and steel, and army equipment. Government finances for state-owned enterprises rose from RM 4,000m in 1933 to RM 16,000m 10 years later; the capital assets of state-owned industry doubled during the same period; the number of state-owned firms topped 500.
- Richard Overy, War and Economy in the Third Reich, Oxford: Clarendon, (1994) p.16
- Some of the similarities and parallels include: Frequent recognition by Hitler and various Nazi leaders (and also Mussolini) that their only revolutionary and ideological counterparts were to be found in the Soviet Union . . . [and the] espousal of the have-not, proletarian-nation theory, which Lenin adopted only after it had been introduce in Italy . . . Hitlerian National Socialism more nearly paralleled Russian communism than has any other non-Communist system.
- Stanley G. Payne, A History of Fascism, 1914-1945, University of Wisconsin Press (1995) pp. 210-211
- At the Twelfth Party Congress in Moscow in 1923, Nikolia Bukharin stressed that the Nazi Party had ‘inherited Bolshevik political culture exactly as Italian Fascism had done.’ On June 20, 1923, Karl Radek gave a speech before the Comintern Executive Committee proposing a common front with the Nazis in Germany.
- Stanley G. Payne, A History of Fascism, 1914-1945, University of Wisconsin Press, 1995, p. 126
- If demands coming under the first of these principles were interpreted objectively, something very much resembling Marxian communism would result. Here are some of them: abolition of all income not earned by work; workers to share the profits of the large industries; abolition of land rent, and enactment of a law under which land might be confiscated without compensation for purposes of common interests; socialization of all incorporated business organizations.
- Kate Pinsdorf on the NSDAP's programme, in 'Nature and Aims of the National Socialist German Labor Party', The American Political Science Review, Vol. 25, No. 2 (May 1931), pp. 377-388
- Biology and genetics are the roots form which the National Socialist world-view has grown.
- Goebbels saw the ultimate enemy as international capitalism, and those who held power in Germany as its lackey, betraying their nation for personal gain. These were the traditional targets of the Communists, of course, so the Nazis and the KPD, the Communist Party of Germany, were in direct competition for the same constituency, two rabid dogs fighting for one bone… And Goebbels, who has so recently been happy to describe himself as a ‘German Communist’ led the fight with all the intensity of a religious convert.
- Anthony Read, The Devil’s Disciples: Hitler’s Inner Circle, New York: NY and London: UK,, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. (2004) pp. 141-142
- Such terms as communism, socialism, Fabianism, the welfare state, Nazism, fascism, state interventionism, egalitarianism, the planned economy, the New Deal, the Fair Deal, the New Republicanism, the New Frontier are simply different labels for much the same thing.
- The basis of National Socialism’s mass psychology differs from that of Wilhelmian imperialism in that the former had a pauperized middle class, whereas the German empire had a prosperous middle class as its mass basis. Thus, the Christianity of Wilhelmian imperialism had to be different from the Christianity of National Socialism. For all that, the ideological modifications did not undermine the fundamentals of the mystical world view in the least; rather they intensified its function.
To begin with, National Socialism rejected the Old Testament as being ‘Jewish’ - that, at least, was the position of its well-known exponent, Rosenberg, who belonged to the right wing. In the same way the internationalism of the Roman Catholic Church was regarded as ‘Jewish’. The international church was to be replaced by the ‘German’.
- Wilhelm Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism, (1933), p. 117.
- We have already seen how the ideology of national honour derives from authoritarian ideology and the latter from the sex-negation regulation of sexuality. Neither Christianity nor National Socialism attacks the institution of compulsive marriage: for the former, apart from its function of procreation, marriage is a ‘complete, life-long union’; for the National Socialists it is a biologically rooted institution for the preservation of racial purity. Outside of compulsive marriage, there is no sexuality for either of them.
- Wilhelm Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism, (1933), p. 119.
- Italian and German National Socialism became international fascism. In the strict sense of the word it attracted masses on an international scale in the form of a perverse ‘nationalistic internationalism’. In this form it crushed genuine democratic revolts in Spain and in Austria.
- Wilhelm Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism, (1933), p. 228.
- Profits are so completely subordinated in [Nazi] Germany and [Fascist] Italy to requirements of a militarily conceived national interest and of full employment that the maintenance of the profit principle is purely theoretical.
- Howard Richards and Joanna Swanger, "The Dilemmas of Social Democracies: Overcoming Obstacles to a More Just World", Lexington Books, (2008) p. 192
- Nazi forces are not seeking mere modifications in colonial maps or in minor European boundaries. They openly seek the destruction of all elective systems of government on every continent-including our own; they seek to establish systems of government based on the regimentation of all human beings by a handful of individual rulers who have seized power by force. These men and their hypnotized followers call this a new order. It is not new. It is not order.
- Franklin Roosevelt, Address to the Annual Dinner for White House Correspondents' Association, Washington, D.C. (15 March 1941). A similar (but misleading 'quote') is inscribed on the FDR memorial, in Washington D. C., which says "They (who) seek to establish systems of government based on the regimentation of all human beings by a handful of individual rulers... Call this a New Order. It is not new and it is not order"
- A totalitarian government with a scientific bent might do things that to us would seem horrifying. The Nazis were more scientific than the present rulers of Russia, and were more inclined towards the sort of atrocities that I have in mind.
- Bertrand Russell, in The Impact of Science on Society (1951)
- I hated the brutality, the sadism, and the insanity of Nazism. I just couldn't stand by and see people destroyed. I did what I could, what I had to do, what my conscience told me I must do. That's all there is to it. Really, nothing more.
- Oskar Schindler, Oskar Schindler speaking about his take on the final solution (refers to the German Nazis' plan to engage in systematic genocide against the European Jewish population during World War II)
- Yes, from the Right we shall take nationalism, which has so disastrously allied itself with capitalism, and from the Left we shall take Socialism, which has made such an unhappy union with internationalism. Thus we shall form the National-Socialism which will be the motive force of a new Germany and a new Europe.
- In contrast to the asexual chasteness of official communist art, Nazi art is both prurient and idealizing. A utopian aesthetics (physical perfection; identity as a biological given) implies an ideal eroticism: sexuality converted into the magnetism of leaders and the joy of followers. The fascist ideal is to transform sexual energy into a "spiritual" force, for the benefit of the community.
- Susan Sontag, in "Fascinating Fascism" (1974), published in The New York Review of Books (6 February 1975) and reprinted in Sontag's Under the Sign of Saturn (1980), p. 93
- Buried under mountains of red tape, directed by the State as to what they could produce, how much and at what price, burdened by increasing taxation and milked by steep and never ending 'special contributions' to the party, the businessmen, who had to welcome Hitler's regime so enthusiastically because they expected it to destroy organized labor and allow an entrepreneur to practice untrammeled free enterprise, became greatly disillusioned... Fritz Thyssen, one of the earliest and biggest contributors to the party,... recognized that the 'Nazi regime has ruined German industry.'
- William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany, New York: NY, Simon & Schuster, 2011, p. 261.
- We are Socialists, enemies, mortal enemies of the present capitalist economic system with its exploitation of the economically weak, with its injustice in wages, with its immoral evaluation of individuals according to wealth and money instead of responsibility and achievement, and we are determined under all circumstances to abolish this system!
- Gregor Strasser, “Thoughts about the Tasks of the Future,” June 15, 1926. One-page talking points memo sent to Nazi leaders.
- The Capitalist system with its exploitation of those who are economically weak, with its robbery of the workers labour power, with its unethical way of appraising human beings by the number of things and the amount of money he possesses, instead of by their internal value and their achievements, must be replaced by a new and just economic system, in a word by German Socialism.
- Gregor Strasser, Tradition & Revolution: Collected Writings of Troy Southgate, editors: Patrick Boch, Jacob Christiansen and John B. Morgan, UK, Arktos Media (2010) p. 66
- I was a young student of law and economics, a Left Wing student leader, and a leader of ex-soldier students.
- Quote from Nazi party leader Otto Strasser in Hitler and I, Boston: MA, Houthton Miffin Company, (1940) p. 3.
- From the point of view of fundamental human liberties there is little to choose between communism, socialism, and national socialism. They all are examples of the collectivist or totalitarian state … in its essentials not only is completed socialism the same as communism but it hardly differs from fascism.
- Ivor Bulmer-Thomas, in The Socialist Tragedy (1951), p. 241.
- Having first robbed the Jews, the Nazis are beginning to rob the Church, and later will almost certainly expropriate what is left of the bourgeoisie property.
- Dorothy Thompson, “On the Record”, Harrisburg Telegraph, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, March 6, 1939, p. 7.
- Most cruel joke of all, however, has been played by Hitler & Co. on those German capitalists and small businessmen who once backed Nation Socialism as a means of saving Germany's bourgeois economic structure from radicalism. The Nazi credo that the individual belongs to the state also applies to business. Some businesses have been confiscated outright, on other what amounts to a capital tax has been levied. Profits have been strictly controlled. Some idea of the increasing Governmental control and interference in business could be deduced from the fact that 80% of all building and 50% of all industrial orders in Germany originated last year with the Government. Hard-pressed for food-stuffs as well as funds, the Nazi regime has taken over large estates and in many instances collectivized agriculture, a procedure fundamentally similar to Russian Communism.
- “Man of 1938: From the unholy organist, a hymn of hate”, Time magazine, inside article entitled: “Adolf Hitler: Man of 1938” (Jan. 2, 1939)
- [B]oth the communists and fascists revolutions definitely abolished laissez-faire capitalism in favor of one or another kind and degree of state capitalism.
- Norman Thomas, A Socialist’s Faith, W. W. Norton, 1951, p. 55. Former presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America.
- Soon [Nazi] Germany will not be any different from Bolshevik Russia; the heads of enterprises who do not fulfill the conditions which the ‘Plan’ prescribes will be accused of treason against the German people, and shot.
- And now the beginning of the expropriation of church lands in Austria, have all revealed the true face of National Socialism, which more and more among pious Germans is called, under their breaths, ‘the brown Bolshevism.’
- Dorothy Thompson, "Let the Record Speak", Boston: MA, Houghton Mifflin Company (1939) p. 295 (newspaper column: “Pius XII—the former Diplomat,” March, 6, 1939)
- In no way was Hitler the tool of big business. He was its lenient master. So was Mussolini except that he was weaker.
- Norman Thomas, A Socialist’s Faith, W. W. Norton, 1951, p. 53. Former presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America.
- Marxism has led to Fascism and National-Socialism, because, in all essentials, it is Fascism and National Socialism.
- Frederick Augustus Voigt, Unto Cæsar, New York: NY, G.P. Putnam’s Sons (1938), p. 85
- Marxism would be a phenomenon of little more than historical interest, seeing that it has failed even in its principal stronghold, were it not so closely akin to National Socialism. National Socialism would have been inconceivable without Marxism.
- Frederick Augustus Voigt, Unto Caesar , New York: NY, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1938, p. 38
- All this would change when Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933 because his deductions from the war differed in important respects from those of others. War had been an intended and even a preferred part of National Socialist policy from the beginning, not so much out of a preference for fighting for its own sake, but from the entirely accurate conviction that the aim of German expansion could be secured only by war. Germany was to seize the agricultural land needed to feed its population, a population that would grow further as it obtained such land, and which would accordingly expand its needs and its lands into the indefinite future. This crude Social Darwinism, in which racial groups fought for land which could provide the means of subsistence, expelling or exterminating but never assimilating other groups, was derived from a view of history as deterministic as that of Marx, but substituting race for class as the key to understanding.’ Its application had internal as well as external implications.
- Gerald L. Weinberg, A World at Arms : A Global History of World War II, Cambridge University Press, 2005
- The gentlemen of the National Socialist party call the movement they have unleashed a national revolution, not a National Socialist one. So far, the relationship of their revolution to socialism has been limited to the attempt to destroy the social democratic movement, which for more than two generations has been the bearer of socialist ideas and will remain so. If the gentlemen of the National Socialist Party wanted to perform socialist acts, they would not need an Enabling Law. They would be assured of an overwhelming majority in this house. Every motion submitted by them in the interest of workers, farmers, white-collar employees, civil servants, or the middle class could expect to be approved, if not unanimously, then certainly with an enormous majority.
- It is impossible to engage in intellectual discourse with National Socialist Philosophy, for if there were such an entity, one would have to try by means of analysis and discussion either to prove its validity or to combat it. In actuality, however, we face a totally different situation. At its very inception this movement depended on the deception and betrayal of one's fellow man; even at that time it was inwardly corrupt and could support itself only by constant lies.
- Though we know that National Socialist power must be broken by military means, we are trying to achieve a renewal from within of the severely wounded German spirit. This rebirth must be preceded, however, by the clear recognition of all the guilt with which the German people have burdened themselves, and by an uncompromising battle against Hitler and his all too many minions…
- For the first time, I am ashamed to be a German.
- Wilhelm II of Germany, in regard to Nazi anti-Jewish campaigns, after Kristallnacht, however this statement seems to contradict his other statements regarding Jews. (November 1938); as quoted in Our German Cousins : Anglo-German Relations in the 19th and 20th Centuries (1974) by John Mander, p. 219
- The tragedy is not that nonviolence did not work against the Nazis, but that it was so seldom utilized ...The churches as a whole were too docile or anti-semitic, and too ignorant of the nonviolent message of the Gospel, to act effectively to resist the Nazis or act in solidarity with the Jews.
- Walter Wink, Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination (1992), p. 254-256
- Strictly speaking, the message of National Socialism was not radically different from that of other forms of egalitarianism and socialism: strong antibourgeois sentiments expressed through a radical empowerment of a selected group of people at the expense of other groups… What made National Socialism novel and different from earlier forms of socialism was an attempt to blend the ideas of social justice and revolutionary nationalism.
- Andrei A. Znamenski, “From ‘National Socialists’ to ‘Nazi:’ History, Politics and the English Language,” The Independent Review, Oakland: CA, vol. 19, no. 4, Spring 2015, p. 545. 
DiMeglio, Peter M. (1999). "Germany 1933–1945 (National Socialism)". In Helen Tierney (ed.). Women's studies encyclopedia. Westport, CN: Greenwood Press.Edit
- From its inception, the Nationalist Socialist German Worker’s Party (NSDAP Nazi Party) had no place for women in its ranks. At its first general meeting in early 1921 a unanimous resolution passed that stated that women could never be accepted either into the leadership of the party or into any governing committee. National Socialism viewed German women as wives and mothers who did not wish to work in factories or offices or even represent themselves in the government. A cozy home, a beloved husband, and a multitude of happy children were their only aspirations. Hitler believed in suppressing the drive for women’s emancipation by emphasizing the differences between mena dnw omen and the woman’s role as the preserver of the biological inheritance, domestic virtue, and even eternal morality.
- The Nazi definition of the role of women actually expanded and contracted with party needs. Prior to Hitler’s ascension to power, men and women worked together. Following 1933, Hitler made employed women give up jobs to return to the home and raise families. After 1936, however, when he needed them to work, he put them in factories. Because of Hitler’s war preparation, the Nazis moved to improve the employment of women in the workplace. Despite all of these changing roles, however, at no time did women have any demonstrable influence over policies that affected themselves, their families, or the Nazi Party. They were not placed in positions where they wielded political power or party and state responsibility.
- The Nazis were strongly opposed to feminism and held that feminists were unduly influenced by both Jews and Marxists, had an unhealthy preoccupation with their sexuality, and were determined to destroy Christian-German life. The Nazis discouraged dieting, cosmetics, smoking, and foreign dress. German couples needed medical examinations to marry, and the fear of “hereditary defects” led to a black market in documents proving Aryan ancestry. Wives of SS men were forced to attend special bride schools. Almost 28,000 so-called undesirable women underwent forced sterilization by 1934. Aryan men were encouraged to divorce Jewish wives, and their children were taken from the mother. In 1939, it was announced that Jewish women could seek abortions, but non-Jewish women could not. Non-Jewish women who did not marry or have children were harassed.
- The response of the Christian faithful to racism was not uniform. A population as enormous as that of Christian women could not be socially, politically, or temperamentally monolithic. Michael Phayer states that Protestants were more tolerant toward Nazi racism than Catholics. Protestant women were more nationalistic than Catholics, which made them more receptive to National Socialism. Some Protestant women, however, also fought National Socialist ideology and the paganism it espoused. Scholt-Klink promoted her own women’s organization by playing Catholic an Protestant’s women’s organizations against each other.
The experiences of German women living under Nazi rule varied. As pointed out in “When Biology Became Destiny”, Nazism did not begin with overt attacks against the emancipation of women. It was cloaked in extreme nationalism calling for love of the country, reduction of the unemployment by keeping women out of the workforce, and reversion of women back to the role of motherhood.
What can be said of the attitude of German women toward the racism of Hitler? A great deal of information has been derived from studying the most prominent organizations of women. Many Protestant and Catholic leaders were aware that if Germany were victorious, there would be a showdown between Christianity and the neopaganism of National Socialism. Some courageous women dared to challenge the establishment. For example, Agnes von Grone and Helene Weber both spoke out against anti-Christian elements in Nazism. Ultimately, faith, not feminism, made Nazi women reject Nazi neopaganism. Institutional and religious elements overwhelmed social factors.
Friedlander, Henry (1995). “The origins of Nazi genocide: from euthanasia to the final solution”. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.Edit
- The Nazi regime issued numerous laws and regulations during the 1930s to implement its eugenic and racial program, and, as we shall see, the practitioners of race hygiene-anthropologists, geneticists, psychiatrists, and physicians-were involved in drafting and applying them. Of course, their role had changed. They profited from being governed by a regime that favored race hygiene, but they also had to accommodate themselves to the regime’s political needs. They continued to consider the Nazis “vulgar and ordinary” and Nazi anti-Semitism somewhat extreme, but they accepted, even applauded, Nazi policies because they reflected an ideology they as individuals and as scientists had long supported. But even though they may have tried to maintain a certain scientific detachment, their assistants and students enthusiastically embraced all aspects of Nazi ideology.
At times, however, Nazi ideology made life inconvenient for the race scientists. Fritz Lenz discovered the futility of objecting to one of Heinrich Himmler’s pet projects. At a committee meeting attended by Himmler, Lenz opposed equality for illegitimate children because he believed it would have a negative impact on the quality of the transmitted germ plasm. Himmler disagreed. The powerful Reich leader SS argued that illegitimacy was not a disgrace in the “real world” and that equality was needed to assure a high birthrate and to prevent the spread of homosexuality and abortion.
German science was rapidly synchronized (“gleichgeschaltet”) with Nazi ideology after 1933, especially after scientists opposed to the new regime, as well as those with the wrong ethnic background, were fired. There was no effective resistance. Still, not all science was dominated by Nazi ideology in disregard of the German scientific tradition. For example, the attempt to establish an Aryan physics failed as older traditions reasserted themselves.
Such restraints did not apply in the biological sciences concerned with the questions of race and heredity. There Nazi ideology and German scientific tradition complemented each other. Without hesitation, the race scientists fired their Jewish colleagues.
- Ch.1 “The Origins of Nazi Genocide”, p.19
- As the Nazi regime moved toward war, Hitler authorized state and party planners to proceed form the exclusionary policies of emigration, incarceration, and sterilization to the most radical exclusionary solution of killings. The first group targeted were the handicapped. They were excluded by being institutionalized, but this was not enough. Hostile to their existence, institutions reduced services and sought to cut the costs of caring for mental and disabled patients. Excluded, incarcerated, sterilized, and neglected, the handicapped were viewed as expendable, and thus a logical progression led to the killing of the handicapped in the so-called euthanasia program. The other group of undesirables-the “Asozialen” were treated similarly: those committed to institutions by the courts were among the first killed; others were later selected for killing when euthanasia was applied within the concentration camps.
- Ch.1 “The Origins of Nazi Genocide”, p.21
- Against the handicapped, the regime enacted into law the program long advocated by race scientists to control a population considered degenerate and inferior. The so-called sterilization law, promulgated in July 1933, served throughout the Nazi period as the model for all eugenic legalisation. It introduced compulsory sterilization for persons suffering from a variety of mental and physical disorders and in the process defined the groups to be excluded from the national community. This legislation was followed in October 1935 by the Marriage Health Law, which mandated screening the entire population to prevent marriages of persons considered carriers of hereditary degeneracy, particularly those covered by the sterilization law. Numerous ordinances defining and enlarging these two laws followed. As race hygiene had always linked the handicapped to criminal and antisocial behavior, the bureaucrats drafting this legislation believed that their eugenic laws should also cover “inherited criminal traits.” To accomplish this, the regime enacted in November 1933 the Law against Dangerous Habitual Criminals and the Law on Measures of Security and Reform. The new provisions- articles 220a and 42a-m of the penal code-gave the courts substantial new powers to confine and punish persons considered habitual criminals. In addition to the penalties already provisioned by the penal code, the court were authorized to commit the ”Asozaielen” to state hospitals, to impose protective custody or longer prison terms on habitual criminals, to mandate castration for sexual offenders, and to prohibit defendants from practicing their professions or occupations.
- Ch.2 Excluding the Handicapped, pp.23-24
Proctor, Robert (1988). “Racial Hygiene: Medicine Under the Nazis”. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Edit
- The Nazi medical experiments and even the program for the destruction of “lives not worth living” represent only the tip of a much larger iceberg. In fact, the ideological structure we associate with National Socialism was deeply embedded in the philosophy and institutional structure of German biomedical science long before the beginning of the euthanasia program in 1939-and to a certain extent, even before 1933. The published record of the German medical profession makes it clear that many intellectuals cooperated fully in Nazi racial programs, and that many of the social and intellectual foundations for these programs were laid long before the rise of Hitler to power. What I want to argue in addition to this, however (and here I shall be drawing upon a growing body of recent German scholarship on this question) is that biomedical scientists played an active, even leading role in the initiation, administration, and execution of Nazi racial programs. In this sense the case can be made that science (especially biomedical science) under the Nazis cannot simply be seen in terms of a fundamentally “passive” or “apolitical” scientific community responding to purely external political forces; on the contrary, there is strong evidence that scientists actively designed and administered central aspects of National Socialist racial policy.
- We should not allow our judgment of the ethical character of Nazi medical practice to hinge entirely on whether we consider it to have been based on “genuine science”. One cannot (or at least should not) radically divide the practice of science from its product science is, among other things, a social activity, and the politics of those who practice it is part of that science. Furthermore, we miss something if we assume at the outset a fundamental hostility between science and a form of political practice such as National Socialism. This was not how scientists themselves viewed the matter[..]
- Introduction, p.9
- Hereditary theory remained a point of political contention throughout the period of Nazi rule (and indeed, for some time after). In 1939 the Moscow Anthropological Museum sponsored an exhibit on “Race and Race Theory” attacking the Nazi ideal of Nordic supremacy as part of an “effort by the German ruling class to justify its domination over subjugated classes as ‘natural’.” Nazi physicians reporting on the exhibit claimed that by virtue of their support for the inheritance of acquired characteristics, soviet biologists had abandoned the goal of “pure science”; Nazi physicians also suggested that the Soviets hoped, with the help of the Lamarckian doctrine, to “disprove the existence of racial boundaries” and thereby “facilitate the assimilation of Jews into the country.” By this time, however, Russia was not the only country issuing official proclamations on the nature of heredity. In 1937 the Nazi party published its official “Handbook for the Hitler Youth”, issued as required reading for the 7 million members of this organization. The “Handbook” presented a chapter titled “Race Formation: heredity and Environment,” including discussions of Mendel’s laws of inheritance, Darwin’s theory of the origin of species by natural selection, and the Lamarckian principle of the inheritance of acquired characteristics.
- The Nazis found biology and medicine a suitable language in which to articulate their goals; scientists found the Nazis willing to support many of their endeavors. Furthermore, racial hygiene was not “imposed on” the German medical community; physicians eagerly embraced the racial ideal and the racial state. This in fact was perceived by observers at the time. In 1933 Fritz Lenz noted:
Whatever resistance the idea of racial hygiene may have encountered in previous times among German doctors, this resistance exists no longer. The German core [Kern] within the medical community has recognized the demands of German racial hygiene as its own; the medical profession has become the leading force in making these demands.
Lenz than cited the words of Gerhard Wagner, leader of the German medical profession:
Knowledge of racial hygiene and genetics has become, by a purely scientific path, the knowledge of an extraordinary number of German doctors. It has influenced to a substantial degree the basic world view of the State, and indeed may even be said to embody the very foundations of the present state [“Staatsraison”].
- Ch.1 “The Origins of Racial Hygiene”, p.45
- Why did physicians join the Nazi party in such numbers? Professional opportunism certainly played a role: many reasoned that by driving out the Jews, jobs could be created for non-Jewish physicians-an important motive, given the overcrowding and financial stress suffered by the profession in the years before the rise of the Nazis (see Chapter 6). The traditionally conservative character of the medical profession was another factor. Prior to 1933, many German physicians identified with the Deutschnationale Volkspartei, a conservative and nationalistic party that eventually threw its support to Hitler.Most physicians shared a strong sense of national pride: in the spring of 1933, for example, the “Deutsches Arzteblatt” noted that most German physicians had taken part in World War I and that 1,000 had died “on the field of honor.”
In the years preceding the triumph of the Nazis, physicians were faced with a series of economic shocks that moved many to realign their politics.Impoverishment after the war and economic collapse during the final years of the Weimar Republic polarized the profession politically. At the same time, physicians warned of a “crisis in medicine,” a crisis variously construed as the bureaucratization specialization, or scientization of medicine-problems blamed on the socialists, the Jews, or the numerous quacks that eternally plague the profession.Physicians expressed a desire to win back “the confidence of the people.”
- The single most important classes of journals that, generally speaking did “not” survive the Nazi seizure of power were those publishing in the field of social hygiene (“Sozialhygiene”). These were journals concerned primarily with broader social or public health aspects of medicine, often from a socialist or communist point of view. The journal “Soziale Medizin”, for example, folded in the first year of Nazi rule, as did “Der Sozialistische Arzt”, the official journal of the Association of Socialist Physicians.
- The Nazi medical community also published special journals designed either to popularize the new racial ideal or to keep Nazi physicians abreast of social and racial policy. “Ziel und Weg” was the primary journal responsible for articulating Nazi philosophy in the sphere of medicine. In 1931 it began publishing in editions of 3,000 copies; by 1934 this number had grown to 16,000; and by 1939 the journal was publishing 40,000 copies twice a month. The Office of Racial Policy (Rassenpolitisches Amt) published the popular health magazine “Neues Volk” (New people), issued as the successor to the pre-Nazi journal “Das Horrohr”, in editions that ran as high as 360,000 copies (in 1939); the office also published an in-house journal called the “Informationsdienst” (Information service) to keep its members informed on issues of racial policy. Circulation of the “Informationsdienst” was deliberately limited to 5,000 copies in order to be able to include confidential information; readers were asked not to repeat information published in the journal unless they withheld the source. Published from 1934 to 1944 the “Informationsdienst” today serves as one of the most revealing sources of information on Nazi racial policy.